Were this photo from Lemberg, I would consider them Armenians on the basis of the big dark eyes and round faces. But they were not made in Lemberg, from where the draught of 1945 also swept out the photos: they are now sold on the flea market of Wrocław, and the ones here had been brought by the new settlers. I do not know in which city of Russia they were taken. I have not found any trace of S. A. Myalkin’s photo atelier: it must have been a small studio if it could not afford a printed reverse of its own, only a standard print and a stamp. The inscription was written in a peculiar phonetic orthography: Дяди тети и Кресны атъ Лены. Оглоблино, to the uncle and aunt from their godson and Lena, Ogloblino can be both a place and a family name, the godson the child shown in the picture, and Lena, who sends the picture, probably the young mother standing, on December 7, 1914.
The entire family from the same year, although the date was written on the reverse by a much later hand. It was probably the photographer to arrange, according to the contemporary conventions, as to who gets what: the man and his mother (?) a son each, the mother the family, and the eldest girl, standing in the center, but nevertheless somewhat lonely, a book.
Two boys, with the same age difference, maybe just three years later, and the elder is similar to the father. The eyes, lips and profile of the woman is also identical to that of the mother, but much more sunken. It seems to be the same family, but if it is so, in these three years the mother aged twenty. One would think she’s just a relative, but on the reverse of the photo there is an inscription in pre-revolutionary orthography: Viktor, Vasya, Mama. The war has been going on for three years, the father is probably on the front: a typical soldier’s wife photo, perhaps intended precisely for him: the mother did not dress up for the picture, she wears casual clothes. Instead of the pillars and draperies, the luxury of the studio is the small iron stove. The two children are emphatically clinging to their mother, one of them holding a book again as an attribute. The photographer’s stamp on the reverse is illegible, just as the postage or registry seal from perhaps the 1930s, I don’t know what it serves for. It must have been hard years for all of them, it would be great if they had survived it without a hitch. In any case, someone definitely survived to preserve the photos together and bring them to Lemberg/Lwów.