These outstanding autochrome pictures of pre-Revolutionary Russia were taken by Peter Ivanovich Vedenisov (1866-1937), a graduate from the Moscow conservatory. He settled in to Yalta, working as a professional pianist, vice-chairman of the Yalta branch of the Russian musical society, founder of the Yalta religious-philosophical society and an avid meteorologist. But Vedenisov’s passion lay in photography.
Among the images of people in tranquil settings before all hell broke loose are pictures of his wife, Vera, her mother, Elena Frantsevna Bazileva, and Andrey and Sofia Nikolaevna’s children, Vera, Natasha, Nick, Lisa and Tanya.
There’s something haunting about autochromes – natural colour images made without need for artificial colourising – their painterly quality, perhaps, give them a spiritual quality. It’s as if, the longer you look at them the more the subject comes to life.
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