This is probably one of the oldest collection of photos of Russian people. What makes it more interesting are that they are not some aristocratic high class ladies or gentlemen dressed as if they are going to a party, but regular people from the streets caught in the act of their profession – like the one on top, who is a water delivery man right from the streets of 19th century St. Petersburg – as it was seen by great Russian classical writers. If you ever read Dostoevsky this is a chance to see the real photos of people he was describing as the time caught in this photo matches the time of his stories.
Here the water delivery men take the water inside the rich house. You can see the particular detail caught in the photo – the paving of the street is far from perfect and the house porch is starting to decay, too.
Two young boys with firewood, one is raising his hat in the manner of greeting the photographer.
A “dvornik” – yardman – a class of people that cleaned streets and the yards of public and private properties. Stereotypically considered to be the most drunk among people. Often lived in small rooms in the yard.
This is a dvornik, too. He has a big shovel and a broom, his main instruments. He also has a wicker basket to put trash in.
A cabman. Looks like he was caught next to that porch where the water delivery was taking place, too. These guys were known for being always drunk, too – just imagine, they had to be outside and ready to give a ride to people at all time during the cold Russian winters. How tough do you need to be to cope with that.
A stoker – a guy who used to take care of the furnaces in old Russia. Just look, almost all of the guys in this post use high class leather boots.
A stone mason with two bricks, each brick bears a company logo.
Peasants out in the field having lunch.
Another cabman, went inside to get some hot tea from the Samovar on the table. Just look at how thick his coat is to withstand all this cold while driving the cab.
A small store owner. Looks like his boots are the most shiny of them all.
Boy street vendors with their goods.
That cabman got his buddy to join him on the tea break. See they are fully dressed but took their hats off. It was considered rude to sit at table with a hat on.
A postman, handling a letter. It looks like the postmen of the time had to carry swords.
A street wicker basket vendor. In a time where there were no plastic dishware, these birch bark baskets in different sizes were a must – they didn’t break easily and could be used to store anything you now store in plastic.
A craftsman with his product – a horse clamp. Look at his tartan pants.
Another street seller.
A street milk seller. It looks like she carried all her stuff in a special sledge.
Another street seller. What is this she is selling?
And one more street seller. With that many baskets and boxes, they look like small walking kiosks or stores.
And here a street seller with a boy who is making a purchase. You can see again the type of pavement.
Again a street selling couple. Those are said to sell fabrics. The guy has a naughty look.
And now a street seller boy who sells bagels. Small bagels, large bagels.
Another street seller. Looks like it was a very popular profession at time for the people of the streets. There were probably no regulations, so just anyone could grab some stuff and start walking around and selling it.
This guy sells game meat on the streets.
And this guy sells SBITEN – a hot Russian drink made of water, honey, jam and spices. According to wikipedia, the profession of selling sbiten outside was a traditional Russian business of the 12th century until late in the 19th century when sbiten was pushed out of the market by coffee and tea. Caffeine, babe.
And again a cabman arriving at an entrance of what looks like a barber shop. The driver this time looks like he is in his lighter version of clothing.
Hope you liked this!