What used to be = what is


For most folks, or maybe it’s just me but I wish to assume my interests are not indicative of a mild case of insanity, there is a desire to understand the history of the human experience. How similar is our experience to that of our predecessors? One of the more interesting ways to explore this is through historical images and texts. The ability to see photographic and film images of the human experience from a hundred plus years ago is an opportunity that has not been afforded previous generations as is so richly offered to ours. Over the last year I have happened upon several exhibitions of these images that provide a fascinating insight into the human experience.

1.Richard Sullivan has posted home video taken by his Father in Honolulu circa VJ Day. Absolutely fascinating look at the joy that swept the island. You can fell the sense of relief from the stress of war that had been building for four years.

2. Photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) undertook a color photographic survey of the Russian Empire with the support of Tsar Nicholas II. The stunning brillance of these photographs is awe inspiring.

Russian Peasants Harvesting Hay
Nikolaevskii Cathedral
Pinkhus Karlinski – Supervisor of Chernigov Floodgate
Chapel

Here is a link to view more of these amazing photos.

Clearly the constructs in which our predecessors lived varied in comparison to today. However, what these images do cement to me is the continuity and consistency in human experience from then until now. The exuberance of the young soldiers and civilians on VJ Day is not that different than what we see today when a Water Project well is turned on in Africa. The Russian peasants taking a break from the harvest of hay could very well be transposed over migrant workers picking grapes in the vineyards of Napa. As a wise king once said, “There is nothing new under the sun”.

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