The Monastery of St Nil on Stolobny Island in Tver Guberniya (Sergei Peokudin-Gorsky, 1910)
These are actual colour photographs, not hand-coloured black & white images. Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky was part of the intellectual and technical upsurge that occurred in Russia at the turn of the 20th century. The Revolution and Civil War put it to a halt, as many of the people of the educated classes fled Russia. It took another generation for the rodina to recover from that catastrophe.
Such people laid the groundwork for the industrialisation of the 20s and 30s, a development that gave Russia the material necessary for victory in the Second Great Patriotic War.
These are a series of photographs of ordinary people from pre-Revolutionary Russia. I am NOT looking back with nostalgia. I am looking FORWARD. However, I understand full well that what I am today is not only the result of my personal choices, experiences, and actions, but, also, I have a debt to those who went before me. My roots are not in Proddie Anglo-Saxon America, but, in Orthodox Great Russia, so, that is what forms my soul and identity (those who have rejected their roots are sad cases… they have given up something genuine for a mess of pottage… they are to be pitied).
What I notice is not the differences between these people and us… I notice the similarities, for they are more numerous than the superficial differences. Indeed, my considered opinion is that anyone who says, “People have changed”, or “Times are different, now”, or “We understand things better than our forefathers did” is a Slim Shady with an agenda, to be watched with vigilance. People have not changed one little bit… it’s why the Scriptures are green and vibrant after two millennia.
These are our mothers and fathers… thank you!
Here’s one of the artworks in the Moscow Metro.
Mikula Selyaniniovich (N Matorin, no date (first quarter of the 20th century)