Along the Banks of the Volga River
Masterpieces of the Russian photography from the second half of the 19th century
in the collection of the National Library of Russia in Saint Petersburg.
The photographer Andrey Karelin (1837 - 1906) also graduated from the St. Petersburg Academy of Arts. He lived and worked in Nizhny Novgorod, and was an adherent of what is presently known as fine art photography. In 1870, Karelin became known in Europe for the creation of "room groups" - complex multi-figured compositions in exquisite interiors filled with air and light, which were produced in the author's unique technical method.
In the 1880s, Karelin paid a lot of attention to the genre of photo landscape. Images of the city were willingly bought by tourists, numerous visitors to the Nizhny Novgorod fair. Despite the small size, Karelin's panoramas skillfully convey the vastness of the beautiful city spread over the Volga. The bird's-eye views perfectly capture the immense breadth of the river, its steep banks, domes of churches, sailing ships.
In 1885, Karelin began to work as a chronicler and made a photographic collection for the Album about Stay of the Grand Duke Vladimir Aleksandrovich and the Grand Duchess Maria Pavlovna in Nizhny Novgorod and at Nizhny Novgorod Fair. The artist photographed the arrival of the Royal guests, the moving procession and crowds of people. When printing positives, he applied the methods that made him famous. The methods allowed him to achieve remarkable soft contours. These photographs demonstrated Karelin's ability to work in a new technical genre, which did not yet have strong professional traditions.
Unusual for Karelin, who gravitated towards classical fine arts, is a photograph depicting the ship "Magdalena". In this picture, the artist does not only capture the technical parameters of the vessel, but also shows the beauty of its design, its peculiar "soaring" over the water mirror-like surface.