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Tsarist Russia with a Graflex in Daytona Beach

June 26, 2012

DAYTONA BEACH -  Through September 9 at the Museum of Arts & Sciences is the show “Empire and Empathy – Vintage Photographs of Russia.” It features rare glimpses of everyday life in Russia, circa 1909. Featured are street vendors, pedestrians and aristocrats in a world soon to be lost forever in the drama of WWI and the Bolshevik Revolution.

In 1909, horseracing journalist and amateur photographer Murray Howe accompanied a group of American champion trotting horses to Russia and other European destinations. While in Russia, Howe shot over 100 images of people, events and architecture with a hand-held Graflex camera, at that time considered a state-of- the-art device because it allowed its user to shoot without a tripod.

This grouping of photographs was specifically selected to accompany the upcoming exhibition The Tsar’s Cabinet: Two Hundred Years of Russian Decorative Arts Under the Romanovs also opening June 23, 2012, at MOAS.

The photographs are rare due to both the quality of the images and subject matter. Howe was fascinated with everyday people on the streets and he captured them in remarkable compositions. These images of human interest set the display apart from other photographic collections from the era.

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