There is a Season


Photograph by Prokudin-Gorskiĭ, Sergeĭ Mikhaĭlovich (1863-1944),
courtesy of the Library of Congress

Here in San Francisco, we spend our years in a constant oscillation between the transitional seasons of Spring and Autumn, with little thought given to Summer or Winter. It’s a bit like constantly teetering on the edge of a decision, without actually making one. August is nearly over, and with its conclusion comes the end of the past 6 months of Spring, which means it’s almost time for the next 6 months of Autumn. It’s possible that we’ll have a few Summery days sprinkled here and there, but its not worth buying the leftover Summer fashions that everyone else has been wearing since June. Luckily for me, Autumn attire is some of my favorite attire because I have an ongoing problem buying more jackets and shoes than I ever really need. STILL MORE JACKETS! STILL MORE SHOES! There’s a tinge of a Sisyphean challenge to it, but without all of the dramatic Grecian indiscretions.

While Spring might be just fine for daydreaming about living in an impeccably decorated blimp and lying around in 1920s-inspired garb (we can all dream of class hopping–the creative trust fund set often likes to dress like paupers and the rest of us often dream of dressing like money is of no concern), Autumn brings out my cozy inner tomboy, encouraging daydreams of tromping around a fishing camp somewhere in the remote wilds of Russia. Or New England, as would be more likely given my language and economic constraints. Alas and alack.

The Boston Globe just released a series of gorgeous photographs of Southern and Central Russia as documented a Century ago by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. The photographs–available for anyone to view through the Library of Congress website–hail from the age of Tsar Nicholas II and delicately hover at the edge of an Empire’s end. What better inspiration could be had for contemplating the end of one season as the next prepares its ascent?  If you want a truly atmospheric experience, put on your favorite melancholic instrumental and peruse below. Please no Pink Floyd.

Chapel on the site where the city of Belozersk was founded in ancient times.
Coal-burning furnace near the Satkinskii factory

Richard Chai Love
Type of Olonetsk man in Vytegra.
Rag & Bone
On the Sim River. 



Rag & Bone
Isfandiyar, Khan of the Russian protectorate of Khorezm(Khiva).
Bashkir’s yard.
Red Wing (these are men’s technically, but buy them small)
Tea factory in Chakva

Hermes (these are actually from 2007–I’ve never gotten over them)
Rise up, Tomboys! Purchase a riding cape and discover your Empire.



About Michael von Braithwaite

Does it look like I'd wear it on a boat, at an eccentric person's estate or accompanied by a peacock on a chain? Yeah, I'll probably buy that.

One comment

  1. Dammit I've wanted those Red Wings for like 3 years now. Argh.

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