Bring back some good or bad memories

March 19, 2021

Vintage Studio Portraits Depict Russian Types in the 19th Century

During the 1860s, several photographers based in Moscow and St. Petersburg produced series of cartes-de-visite showing Russian ‘types.’ These remarkable portraits provide a fascinating record of working-class townspeople, artisans, street vendors and peasants, some staged performing an activity and some photographed in the performance of their occupation.


Little is known of J. Monstein of Moscow. His name suggests that he might have been German. The life of William Carrick, however, is well documented. Born in Edinburgh in 1827, his father was a Scottish timber merchant with a business in Cronstadt, the port for St. Petersburg, where William was raised and educated. He trained at the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts but in the mid-1850s switched from painting to photography, returning temporarily to Edinburgh, where he met a young professional photographer named John MacGregor. In 1859, the two men set up a studio together in St. Petersburg, the partnership lasting thirteen years, until MacGregor’s death in 1872. Carrick worked on alone, until his own death in 1878.

The business appears never to have been a great financial success, and various reasons have been suggested for this. Firstly, the cost of materials in Russia was far higher than in Western Europe; secondly, the hours of sunlight were far fewer; and thirdly, the absence of a middle-class – that staple of the portrait photographer elsewhere - in the still feudal hierarchy of Russian society denied the studio a lucrative source of income. Artistically, however, Carrick did meet with some acclaim during his lifetime, and although his series of Russian types was intended principally for the tourist market, it is the work for which he is best remembered today.

Fancy-basket seller. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Seller of clothes baskets. Photographer unidentified.

Sailor selling cloth slippers. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Boy selling wheelbarrows. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Glazier. Photographed by Alfred Lorens of St Petersburg.

Plasterer. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Fruit-seller. Photographed by Alfred Lorens of St Petersburg.

Flower-seller. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Lamp-lighter. Photographer unidentified.

Butcher. Photographer unidentified.

Bricklayer. Photographer unidentified.

Floor-cleaner. Photographed by Alfred Lorens of St Petersburg.

Chimney-sweeper. Photographed by William Carrick of St Petersburg.

Chimney-sweeper. Photographed by Alfred Lorens of St Petersburg.

Scavenger. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Game-dealer. Photographed by Alfred Lorens of St Petersburg.

Knife-grinder. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Washerwoman. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Tartar dressing-gown seller. Photographed by Alfred Lorens of St Petersburg.

Seller of “cringles” i.e. ring-shaped cakes. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

House-porter carrying water. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Water-carrier. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Milk-woman. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Woodsman. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Apple-seller. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Seller of Moscow bread. Photographed by Alfred Lorens of St Petersburg.

Police-man. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Seller of Dutch herrings. Photographed by Alfred Lorens of St Petersburg.

Gipsy tinman. Photographed by Alfred Lorens of St Petersburg.

Bread and cake seller. Photographer unidentified.

Sieve-dealer. Photographed by Alfred Lorens of St Petersburg.

Knife-grinder. Photographed by William Carrick of St Petersburg.

Cossack. Photographed by William Carrick of St Petersburg.

Peep-show. Photographed by H. Laurent of St Petersburg.

Peasant. Photographed by William Carrick of St Petersburg.

Wood-carrier. Photographed by William Carrick of St Petersburg.

Peasant. Photographed by William Carrick of St Petersburg.

Coachman. Photographed by William Carrick of St Petersburg.

Coachman. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Nun. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Monk. Photographed by William Carrick of St Petersburg.

Nun. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Match-seller. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Fireman. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Vagabond. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Newspaper-seller. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Lamp-lighter. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

Wetnurse and infant. Photographer unidentified.

Milkmaid. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.

House-servant. Photographed by J. Monstein of St Petersburg.





0 comments:

Post a Comment



FOLLOW US:
FacebookTumblrPinterestInstagramYouTube

CONTACT US

Browse by Decades

Popular Posts