Month: January 2018

Changing Lives in Imperial Russia

From people laboring in the fields of central Russia, to melon sellers in Samarkand, this first round of posts highlights the ethnic and geographic diversity of Imperial Russia at a time when the world seemed both very traditional and in flux. This first edition of our course digest includes an abundance of featured content, touching on everything from sword making, and “tea with a splash of vodka,” to the changing fortunes of the Solovki monastery and a Star Wars themed “Phantom Railways” screencast.

The semester’s first student’s choice award goes to a marvelous discussion of the blood red cathedral in Mozhaisk and the evolving relationship between church and state. Please enjoy these posts and the whole weekly edition. We’ll be back with news about the 1917 revolutions in a couple weeks!

Murmansk Railway

In this photo Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii is shown on the right with his dog and two unnamed guards from the Murmansk Railway. If I’m being completely honest the reason this photo caught my attention is that the two guards are giving thumbs up, people in older photos tend to be so stoic that this was … Continue reading Murmansk Railway

Christianity and the Church Before the Revolution

This photograph, taken from the Prokudin-Gorskii collection at the Library of Congress shows the Cathedral of St. Nicholas towering over residential structures in the outskirts of Mozhaisk, an ancient town 68 miles west of Moscow. I chose the photograph because of the striking contrast between the imposing, brightly-colored cathedral and the quaint scene of a … Continue reading Christianity and the Church Before the Revolution

Alter of Virgin Mary

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Miraculous Icon of Mother of God-Odigitria in the Mother of God Church, 1912. Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii was a Russian photographer whose claim to fame was his work with color sensitization and three-color photography that led to him photographing Leo Tolstoy in 1908. His vision for his work was to document the Russian Empire systematically … Continue reading Alter of Virgin Mary

The Yakutian Laika Dog

In 1910 Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii ventured out into the Ural Mountains and captured this picture of the so-called “Guard Dogs”.  I hope that Prokudin-Gorskii was being facetious with that title because those dogs do not look particularly interested in guarding anything. The dogs depicted in the picture are Yakutian Laika dogs which are commonly found within the region surrounding …

Continue reading “The Yakutian Laika Dog”

A shifting world captured in an industrial town

From 1909 to 1915 Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii embarked on a journey commissioned by Tsar Nicholas II to capture the Russian empire. With his innovative technique for capturing colored images, Prokudin-Gorskii was able to preserve a world that was beginning to change. In this particular photo, called Three Generations, Prokudin-Gorskii was able to capture a cultural shift …

Continue reading A shifting world captured in an industrial town