100 Years After Empire
March 22, 2007 8:01 AM   Subscribe

Revisiting Imperial Russia A Century Later MeFi veterans will undoubtedly remember how amazed we all were in 2001 by the color photographs of rural Imperial Russia by Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii. Or maybe some of you newer members remember when we revisited that site in 2004. Last year, photographers returned to a number of the original locations photographed by Prokudin-Gorkii to re-photograph the same locations as they are now. For the most part, little has changed.
posted by briank (20 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
*sigh* The pictures are really screwed up by jpg overcompression, or something (It seems like they were compressed, then shrunk down, actually)

posted by delmoi at 8:08 AM on March 22, 2007

Jesus, that's neat. I've wondered about so many of those places.
posted by notsnot at 8:24 AM on March 22, 2007

I really love before and after photos like this, but for some reason these did nothing for me. Part of it is probably that they aren't side by side, so they are hard to compare. Also, it's an area of the world I'm not familiar with.
posted by DU at 8:46 AM on March 22, 2007

this was great. thank you.
posted by Stynxno at 8:55 AM on March 22, 2007

<3 for you, briank
posted by kavasa at 9:12 AM on March 22, 2007

Neat'o, thanks for the post.
posted by Atreides at 9:24 AM on March 22, 2007

Of anything I've ever seen on MeFi, the Russian photos posts are always the best. Thanks for posting!
posted by AspectRatio at 9:39 AM on March 22, 2007

I don't know about "After Empire." During "Empire" (the Soviet one, that is), thousands of places like this were completely destroyed by the CPSU. Those lovely churches and monasteries were particular targets. Glad these survived. Cool post, all things considered.
posted by MarshallPoe at 9:49 AM on March 22, 2007

Brilliant, thank you.
posted by jokeefe at 10:16 AM on March 22, 2007

Does anybody know why my computer won't let me see englishrussia.com? I wanted so badly to experience the monster fish post from yesterday and now I can't see this either.
posted by sarelicar at 11:38 AM on March 22, 2007

Very nice, thanks for the post!
posted by languagehat at 11:50 AM on March 22, 2007

Does anybody know why my computer won't let me see englishrussia.com?

i can't connect to it either
posted by pyramid termite at 1:18 PM on March 22, 2007

Thanks for the post!
posted by ztdavis at 1:32 PM on March 22, 2007

Well that was really nice. Thank you!
posted by Joey Michaels at 3:00 PM on March 22, 2007

Can't get through? Try the coral cache.

I was surprised that the Imperial-era style was so heavy on whitewash. The newer photos show an emphasis (thankfully) on "traditional" coloration. These were very cool and it's great to see how much survived.
posted by dhartung at 3:40 PM on March 22, 2007

DNS lookup to englishrussia.com stopped working for me for a couple of days recently. It's back now though, thankfully, because the site is full of good stuff: 1, 2, 3, 4. (3, the Russian student link is my favorite.)
posted by of strange foe at 6:05 PM on March 22, 2007

Wonderful photographs — thanks for the reminder.

After seeing countless pictures, it's still touching to see images in which everyone is long dead, and from a time in which a national cataclysm laid in wait just over their horizon. From Prince Ukhtomskii's Russia's Imperial Destiny, 1891:
But for Russia there is no other course than either to become what she is destined to be----a great power uniting the West with the East, or ingloriously and imperceptibly to tread the downward path, because Europe of itself would crush us with its external superiority, while the races of Asia, awakened from their slumber by other hands than ours, would be in time even more dangerous to Russia than the nations of the West. Naturally we cannot, even in thought, admit of our ruin or future humiliation!

The unavoidable growth of our historical heritage, our triumph over inimical principles, the coming supremacy of Russia in the greatest and most populous of continents, is perfectly evident to our spiritual eyes. In days of old, when communication with distant borderlands was far more difficult than in our days, vast empires, nevertheless, easily came into being, grew powerful, and extended their boundaries on the borders of semi-barbarous Europe and the East, fluctuating in form, but immutable in its essence. At the present time, when railways, the telegraph, the telephone, to say nothing of other inventions and improvements of importance, have simplified communication between all lands and nations to the last degree, there is scarcely any reason to fear either distance or the estrangement of the several parts of a single whole. Practically distance is almost nonexistent. What to our ancestors appeared simply near at hand now seems to lie immediately before our eyes.
It makes me wonder what might be just over ours.
posted by cenoxo at 6:21 PM on March 22, 2007

Damn EnglishRussia doesn't link to where they got the present-day photos.
posted by blasdelf at 9:24 PM on March 22, 2007

What a treat! Thanks briank for the last hour of oohing and aahing over those wonderful images of Prokudin-Gorskii. Each one is a gem. Some of my favorites are on the people at work page, especially the melon and cloth vendors.

What a fabulous image of the The Emir of Bukhara. From another site, the emir's palace.

I was unable to access the EnglishRussia site, which is usually one of my favorite places to wander (if only they would give fair credit to the sites where they take their material!). when their link is available again, I look forward to seeing them as well.
posted by nickyskye at 9:41 PM on March 22, 2007

Just accessed the EnglishRussia site to view those pics. More ahhhs.
posted by nickyskye at 7:32 PM on March 23, 2007

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