Russia has always been a country that fascinated me. They are like that mysterious, leather jacket wearing, brooding person standing in the corner at a party. No matter what you learn about them, there always seems to be some secret that is just out a reach. This articulates my feelings about Russia perfectly. No matter how much I learn about Russian culture, history, architecture, politics, and just about any other topic for that matter, I always want to learn more. There always seems to be something more, lurking just beneath the surface, just out of reach. So, if you would like, you can come along with me to try to discover a little more of the rich and complex Russian history from the past 100 years.
For my first blogpost, I examined photographs by Prokudin-Gorskii that were taken in the early 1900’s. The thing that is so striking about these pictures is that they are in beautiful color, taken in the early decades of the 20th century. Every photograph that he took is quite spectacular, but the one that caught my eye is called Three Generations.
The picture above is of A.P Kalganov, his son, and his granddaughter. The reason why I was so drawn to this picture is because it shows how the country was beginning to transition to a more modernized nation. The grandfather on the left wears traditional Russian clothes and a long masculine-looking beard, while the other two appear in more modern Westernized clothes. This picture was taken in 1910, just seven years before the Russian Revolution took place. To me, this foreshadows the changes that took place in the overthrowing of the final tsar of Russia, and the takeover by the Bolshevik Party. The Bolshevik Party worked to modernize Russia and “catch-up” to the rest of the world. So, getting back to the photograph above, the grandfather symbolizes the old, traditional way of Russian life under the rule of the tsar. The two on the right show the changes that were to come to Russia under the Bolshevik rule. One simple photograph was able to portray so much history. A big thank you to Sergei Mikhailovich Produkin-Gorskii for his fantastic work.
Permanent Record: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/prk2000000782/
Picture Titled: Three Generations, By Sergei Mikhailovich Produkin-Gorskii, 1910