Photographer's Note

After an autumn picture of yesterday - a reminder of what may expect at least some of us in the near future. This is one of the oldest photographs in my archive. It was made in 1986 and shows the Cathedral of the Rising of the Cross in the Yuriev (St.George's) Monastery in Vitoslavlitzi near Novgorod in the North-West of Russia.

Notwithstanding its name, Novgorod is the most ancient Slavic city recorded in Russia. Archeological data suggests that the Gorodische, the residence of the Knyaz (prince), dates from the middle of 9 C, whereas the town itself dates only from the end of the 9 C, hence the name Novgorod, "new city". By the mid-10 C Novgorod had become a fully developed medieval city. In 882 Oleg of Novgorod captured Kiev and founded the state of Kievan Rus, the oldest centralized state on Russian soil. In that state Novgorod was the second city in importance. No other Russian or Ukrainian city may compete with Novgorod in the variety and age of its medieval monuments, and in 1992, historic monuments of Novgorod and surroundings were added to the UNESCO World Heritage list. The foremost among these is the St.Sophia Cathedral, built in the 1040s. It is the first church ever to represent original features of Russian architecture (austere stone walls, five helmet-like cupolas). Novgorod kremlin (fortress) also contains the oldest palace in Russia (1433), the oldest Russian bell tower (mid-15 C), and the oldest Russian clock tower (1673). Yuriev Monastery is also probably the oldest in Russia and dates from 1030, but the cathedral we see is not so old and was built only in 1823. According to the fashion of that period, its cupola are dark blue with golden stars; however, I didn't have a colour film at my disposal...

Something about the photo itself. It was made with the ancient Praktiflex camera of my grandfather which is nowadays so rare that it wasn't even featured in the huge TE camera list. The Praktiflex is a 35mm SLR that was launched in Germany by KW in 1939. It was one of the very first 24x36 SLRs, its production would continue after the war until 1949, and its successor the Praktica initiated a very long and successful series. Another remarkable thing about the photo is that it was completely processed by myself back in 1986. This means that I took the picture using old Russian B&W film (Svema or Tasma, I think), then developed the film and printed the photographs at home. The name of the photo paper (also B&W, of course) was Unibrom, if I remember correctly. At that time, we still did not have that wonderous photo shops with automatic film processing, it came to Russia several years after that, so we did it ourselves...

Scanned from this old home-made B&W print.

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Additional Photos by Alexander Pasternak (pasternak) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1341 W: 179 N: 3373] (15185)
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