The Moscow Timesâ€™ Anna Malpas writes, â€œIn a picture from 1907, an eager crowd gathers on a cobbled street of Petersburg to see Russia’s first car show, a small boy in knickerbockers racing across in a blur of excitement. In others, bonneted women admire the first electric lighting in a shopping arcade and pilots wheel out a Bleriot monoplane to take part in a 1910 air show.
â€œBut despite these signs of technological progress, abject poverty is never far from the camera’s lens. Headscarfed women wait in an endless line at a pawnbroker’s and bums fight outside a night shelter, whose Dickensian walls are painted with the slogans: â€œNo drinking vodka, no singing songs, behave yourselves quietly.â€
These are the images from a new coffee-table book, â€œ20th Century Russia in Photographs: 1900 to 1917,â€ a very turbulent period in Russia. The state-run gallery Moscow House of Photography has been collecting and cataloguing historically interesting photos from the last century as part of a far-reaching project to chronicle Russiaâ€™s history.