Russia has held a deep fascination for me ever since I studied it in high school. There is something so beautifully tragic about the country. It’s impossible not to be moved by the story of Tsar Nicholas II, the devoted father yet woefully incompetent leader who presided over the fall of the imperial line. To be caught up in the grand ideals of Lenin, Trotsky and the Bolsheviks who completely overturned society through their bloody and singleminded ideological crusade. To be appalled by the quiet, ruthless ambition of Stalin and the immense scale of human suffering during his reign and in World War II. This is a country that has seen and endured so much.
I was extremely delighted to stumble across a gorgeous collection of colour photos of Russia in the early 1900’s (thank you, Facebook!). This was in the calm before the storm of World War I and the Bolshevik Revolution. The photographer, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, could only take black and white photos, but was able to create colour by combining the images taken with red, green and blue filters. Ah, the magic of light and colour. The results are stunning. Please go check it out and be transported to another place, another time.