Monday, March 1, 2010

the romanovs and cameras

One of the reasons I believe the story about the Romanovs has endured for so long has less to do with the fact the family is royalty and more to do with the treasure trove of pictures they took and left behind. Most of the photos of the Romanovs aren't of them in court dress, looking serious. Those photos were officially taken and released (see photo to the left, of Tatiana, Olga and Marie, taken in 1901). The majority of the photos we have of the Romanovs were taken themselves. They were huge fans of cameras and were even photographed carrying them around sometimes. The girls would publish the photos and even color them in occasionally. The result is a wonderful compilation of photos that shows the family beyond the court jewels and beautiful dresses.

The Romanov's story is one tinged with sadness, from Alexei's illness to the family's untimely and gruesome deaths. Yet those photos serve as a better legacy in my mind. The children could pass for kids today - laughing, joking, smiling together. It is these photos that I believe are responsible for the Romanovs' story enduring so long. You look at the photo to the right, for instance, of Tatiana (top), Marie (left) and Anastasia playing at Livadia. Those could be your children, your neighbors, the kids you grew up with. The fact that they are Russian royalty only adds to the drama. If all we knew about the Romanovs came from court photos with the girls in jewels and kakoshniks, would they really be remembered in the same way? I doubt it. And I am thankful they had cameras.

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