These vintage pictures of Moscow have been kindly sent to us by one of our readers in America. They were taken in 1909 by his great-grandfather and their history is the following …
In 1909 the great-grandfather of our reader accompanied a group of American champion trotting horses on an exhibition tour Moscow, Russia with stops along the way in Germany, Austria and other European spots circa 1909. During the trip, he took over 400 pictures with a Graflex box camera, wrote articles for The Horse Review, and was arrested several times in Russia and Germany for taking unauthorized pictures. 38 photograpghs (out of over 400) became a museum exhibition titled “Empire and Empathy – Vintage Photographs of Russia”.
Here is an extract from the 1914 magazine “Men and Methods” about these pictures:
TWO hundred and fifty thousand troops were in formal review before the Kaiser. Suddenly a tall, sloping shouldered foreigner stepped into the open, leveled his graflex and snapped it. “Take me to the official photographer,” he suggested, when, the next instant, astounded sword bearers fell upon him from every quarter.
A few minutes later, he had the official picture maker deep in an enthusiastic conversation over some prints showing his work on another day, when foggy weather had foiled the official camera.
After that, it was merely human nature for the Kaiser’s photographer to have his Yankee friend released, and gracefully to exchange prints with him. Over the Czar’s borderline, the same diplomatic triumph became settled routine for the traveler. Whenever, as happened some twenty-five odd times, the big-fisted, steady-eyed American snapped his camera without license, he calmed the local authorities by merely explaining, urbanely and in perfectly good transatlantic sporting slang, the mechanism of his nihilistic appearing box—or by generously and confidentially allowing his captors to peer into the ground glass while at no waste of films, he snapped the mayor or judge. Straightway—a verdict of acquittal, with due apologies. Flattered and interested human nature again.