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Monday, 6 August 2012
Fascinating Photos Capture Life in Imperial Russia Before the Revolution
Topic: Imperial Russia

 

These remarkable pictures show the lives of Russian peasants living in the 1800s.

Taken by Edinburgh-born artist William Carrick he was born on New Year's Eve in 1827 and months later was taken to Russia where he grew up.

He studied painting at the St Petersburg Academy of Arts and studied in Rome.

During one of his visits to Edinburgh, he took photography lessons and met John McGregor who returned with him to St Petersburg.

In 1859 he opened one of the first photographic studios and McGregor worked with him as an assistant.

Together the pair travelled rural Russia capturing the lives of peasants living and working in Russia.

Carrick did this to boost his income and keep his studio afloat. The pictures satisfied the curiosity of tourists and the public who found Russia's peasants fascinating.

The pictures, which are dated from the 1860s to the 1870s, include the lives of those working in the busy streets of St Petersburg, from street vendors to musicians and chimney sweeps.

Another set of pictures records the life and labour of Russian peasants in the Volga Region of Simbirsk.

They are seen at work in the fields and at rest and many happily posed for the camera. This would have been the first time many of them had seen one.

Carrick often spent months travelling with his assistant and was known for his compassionate nature.

McGregor died in 1872 and Carrick continued to take photographs until he died of pneumonia in 1878.

© National Gallery of Scotland. 6 August, 2012



Posted by Paul Gilbert at 12:01 AM EDT
Updated: Sunday, 5 August 2012 12:01 PM EDT
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