Slides from Russia

František Krátký: “Russia, 1896. Collector of donations”

In May 1896 a compatriot of ours also participated at the coronation of the last Tsar, I mean if we consider the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy as our patria of those times. The Prague photographer František Krátký (1851-1924), a pioneer of  educational photography, having already visited the Monarchy, Italy, France, Germany, Switzerland and the Balkans and having taken and purchased everywhere photos to be used for the education and for presentations, in the spring of 1896 went to Russia where he obtained a special permission to take photos during the solemnities of coronation.

“Moscow, procession of coronation, 1896. The procession of Alexander II [correctly Nicholas II] at the Paris Hotel”

Slide projecting was extremely popular in contemporary Bohemia. The Prague Amateur Photographers’ Club and later the Slide Projection Society founded in 1897 regularly held public slide projections whose popularity was reduced by the movie only from the 1920s on. The slides were colored by hand as we see on these 8.5 × 8.5 cm photos. The colors have faded during the past century, and several photos were also ruined. From the photos taken in Russia by František Krátký only these two dozens published by the Czech historian of photography Pavel Scheufler have survived.

“Moscow, procession, 1896. Carrying icons”

The photos were also published by the English Russia site, naturally in their typically shifty way. They took it over from the blog of Marinka Lisa who was the first Russian to discover the Czech series. However, they did not mention their source, just as they have “forgot” to add any other information – the name of the photographer, the story of the photos and all the captions – still present in their source. This is how the posts of English Russia usually transform the intelligible Russian reality into an exotic and absurd circus show suitable only for entertainment.

“Moscow, 1896. The building of the Eagle Club.” The Bolshoy Teatr

In the high school in the 80s, when it was extremely difficult to go abroad and there were not many illustrated guide books, the main source of visual information were the slide series made by our professors. By the end of the fourth year we knew by heart each slide of every series. And the equipment room even preserved glass slides from before the war: thirty pictures on the Italian monuments, thirty ones on the French ones, thirty on the German ones. Today it is already difficult to imagine that for generations these couple of dozens of images were the whole world.

“Petersburg, 1896. Lighthouse and Winter Palace”

“Petersburg, 1896. Stock exchange”

“Petersburg, 1896. Anichkin Bridge”

“Petersburg, 1896. Egyptian Bridge”

“Petersburg, 1896” Correctly: Moscow, monument of the heroes of Plevna

“Petersburg, 1896”

“Petersburg, 1896. Sennaya square”

“Petersburg, 1896. The quay of Petersburg”

“Petersburg, 1896. Hansom cab at the quay”

“Nizhniy Novgorod, 1896. Floating hotel”

“Alexander’s summer palace, 1896”

“Peterhof, Cascades”

“Tsarskoye Selo, 1896”

“Petersburg, 1896. Monument of Peter the Great”

“Petersburg, 1896. On the market”

“Petersburg, 1896. On the market”

“Petersburg, 1896. Nevsky prospekt”

“Coronation, mass entertainment, 30 [18] May 1896. Beer-garden on the Khodinka field”

Coronation, mass entertainment, 30 [18] May 1896. Long live the Tsar! Khodinka field”

1 comentario:

Effe dijo...

che grande lavoro sai facendo, Professore.
E che meraviglia queste strade così vuote di San Pietroburgo: mi sembra di scorgervi, a ben guardare, le ombre di Raskol'nikov e dei personaggi di Gogol' e di Belyj