Introduction and Prokudin-Gorskii

Somewhat of introduction I am Heather obviously the author of this blog. I am history major here at Virginia Tech and this is my first class on Russian History. This blog’s main topic if you have not already guessed will be about Russia and the history starting from the 19th century to current times. My goal for this blog is since I am currently learning more about the history of Russia is to post about meaningful history and that hopefully both you as the reader and I can learn more about the history of this incredible nation together.

My first topic of this blog will be about a photo taken by Prokudin-Gorskii and is called A Group of Workers Harvesting Tea. Most of Gorskii’s work is focused on a certain time period within 1905 and 1915 and he also was the photographer of Tsar Nicholas II. Gorskii uses a three color principle in his photography which he takes three different black and white pictures each time using a different color filter which give the picture its original color. This type of photography is pretty to new technology during this period of time.

Also, during this time period much of Russia’s ordinary people relayed heavily on the agricultural way of life. So, this picture captures these people working hard in the fields which most likely is the way they make their livelihood. It does not tell us what type of social class these people are from but in my opinion these people are most likely part of the very large Russian peasant class.

“By the eve of World War I, Russia had undergone rapid industrial development, much of it fueled by foreign investment and the import of technology from Western Europe. Key industries included textiles, metal-working, and chemical and oil production. At the same time, many people lived in appallingly backward conditions, especially in the countryside.”

Gorskii was a great photographer he also took many photos of daily lives of people, transportation, architecture, railroads, factories and many other subjects.

people working in fields

Picture Title and Author: A Group of Workers Harvesting Tea, Take by: Prokudin-Gorskii

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3 thoughts on “Introduction and Prokudin-Gorskii

  1. I found the three color principle technique very interesting too. I had never heard of this method until we looked at it in class, and to be honest, I was surprised we were seeing it first from a Russian and not a Western European or American. However, like you mentioned, Russia was undergoing rapid industrial development at this time, so maybe they were a little more technologically advanced than a lot of people assume.

  2. The three color technique used in these photos makes me more impressed just looking at them. Definitely ahead of his time. The immense size of the Russian peasant population is an indication of the struggles between classes in the early 20th century. It’s a shame that many Russians lived in such poverty as their industrial surge took place in anticipation of the Great War. How much of the blame goes to the government? Or what about Russia’s unforgiving geography? These are interesting questions to ask.

  3. Your post raises important issues about the social structure, climate, and empire. Tell us more about where the picture was taken (where was tea grown)? What do we know about tea drinking in this era? I agree that the women harvesting the tea are most likely peasants. Good quote near the end – could you indicate the source?

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