University of California, Riverside
California Museum of Photography

Russian Empire, 1895-1910: Photographs from stereoscopic negatives in the Keystone-Mast Collection

KU55765 Russian Church Bells, Moscow, Russia

KU90170 Czar Nicholas I Suspension Bridge over the Dnieper River, Kiev, Russia (now Ukraine)

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In the 1980s the staff of the California Museum of Photography corresponded with Dr. Victor Minachin, at that time a professor at Comenius University in Bratislava, Czechoslovakia. He was surveying international collections containing images of Russian architecture to prepare a database of repositories. Minachin is now the director of Expert Systems at the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow. Through grants from the International Research Exchange (IREX) and the Kress Foundation, he has now made four trips to the California Museum of Photography. He has found the CMP's stereoscopic glass plate collection to be the most significant body of original stereoscopic negatives depicting Russian architecture before Stalin's "urban renewal" which resulted in the destruction of many important landmarks.

As a result of this work, Minachin created a computer database listing 900 stereoscopic photographs of Russia in the Keystone-Mast collection. During Dr. Minachin's visit in May, 1993, the California Museum of Photography scanned a number of images for a prototype pictorial database. Dr. Minachin and his staff have developed a sophisticated image database which can be searched based upon a variety of criteria. This database provides access to detailed textual descriptions, city maps, images as enlargements, stereoscopic views and significant details useful in architectural analysis. The graphical user interface also lends itself to bilingual presentation in Russian and English.