Check out the collection of photographs of the common Russian people created by several photographers in the 19th century. These photos will help you catch the essence of the common man, a seller, a craftsman or a peasant, living in the country at that time.
There is little information on photographer J. Monstein who worked in Moscow, while there is yet something to tell you about William Carrick, the other photographer.
The son of a timber merchant, William Carrick was born in Edinburgh on December 23rd, 1827. Only a few weeks old, the Carrick family took William with them to the port of Kronstadt in the Gulf of Finland. Andrew had been trading with this port for some time, and the family would stay there for 16 years.
In 1844, the family moved to Saint Petersburg, where William became a student at the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts, studying architecture under the renowned Alexander Brullov. By 1853 he had completed his studies there, moving to Rome to undertake further studies. Although his family’s business collapsed during the Crimean War, in 1856 William Carrick returned to Saint Petersburg to become a photographer. However, in the summer of the following year he departed for Edinburgh to gain more experience of photography. There he met the photographic technician John MacGregor.
In October, he returned to Russia, taking MacGregor with him in the aim of establishing a business and career. He opened a studio (or atelier) in Saint Petersburg, making MacGregor his assistant. Carrick quickly made a name for himself capturing pictures of Russian life and pioneering Russian ethnographic photography, obtaining the patronage of Grand Duke Konstantine Nicholaievich of Russia, who presented him with a diamond ring in 1862. In 1865, Count Mihaly Zichy hired Carrick to take pictures of his watercolours, in order to resell them as prints. Carrick did similar business with other artists; after his death in 1879 many of these were published in his Album of Russian Artists.
Carrick and MacGregor made several rural expeditions, including a month long trip to Simbirsk province in 1871. He amassed a large collection of photographs depicting life of Russian and Mordovian peasants. In 1872 his colleague MacGregor died, leaving Carrick in despair. Despite this, Carrick continued his work. In 1876, he became photographer of the Academy of Arts, obtaining a studio in the Academy for his photography. An exhibition of his works was held in the Russian capital in 1869, followed by exhibitions in London (1876) and Paris (1878), all to great acclaim.
Carrick died of pneumonia in Saint Petersburg in 1878.
Seller of Moscow bread.
House porter carrying water.
Seller of ring-shaped cakes.
Tartar dressing gown seller.
House porters drinking tea.
Fancy basket seller.