From Russia With Love... Part 3
Monte Zucker• Posted Oct 1, 2003
One of the highlights of my visit to the Kremlin was undoubtedly seeing some of Russia's greatest treasures that are housed there. We entered by an incredible staircase into a wondrous collection of some of the finest artifacts that I'm sure I'll ever see during my lifetime. Fortunately, I was allowed to photograph some of these great treasures. I used my new 24-70mm Canon lens wide-open at f/2.8 with the ISO set to 1600. I was amazed at the quality of the images I got at such a low-light level.
Being a clock collector, some of the first things that caught my eyes were the unbelievable gold clocks that were in abundance. This one in particular seemed to stand out for me because of its setting. The fact that everything was just sitting out there in the open--the gold table, the clock, the candlesticks, the statues--was amazing to me.
Have you ever seen real Faberge
eggs? They defy description. They are intricately designed with gold,
jewels, and sometimes intricate statuary built into them. They unquestionably
live up to their reputation. Many of the eggs were on display in locations
around the world, so only a few were on display. Those that were, however,
were displayed together with other magnificent artifacts once used by
some of Russia's most famous rulers.
One entire section of the museum was a display of crowns. No figment of your imagination could ever come close to the actual crowns. I photographed this one individually, because Nadir told me that this is one of the most famous. All of these pictures were made by photographing directly through special glass windows. I shot them all by available light.
The waistlines of all of these gowns were so tiny, I can't believe that the women who wore them could even breathe.
One room was filled with horse-drawn carriages; it staggers the imagination to think about the people who rode in them and where they were going. A single afternoon didn't give us the opportunity to see even half of the contents of the museum. I was informed that the pieces that are on display are still used for very special occasions.
My original family roots are from Russia. My father was born there. I definitely feel a pull to go back. Once again, I attribute both my invitation to speak in Russia and the success I felt upon my return home to the fact that the world will always love and buy classic portraiture. Digital cameras haven't changed that--they've simply made it easier and better to produce it.
I'm not sure what the future holds for all of us. The one thing that I am certain of is that as the Russian treasures have retained their value throughout the ages, even increased in value, so it is also possible for some of the photographic images we create in our own lifetime to become a great part of tomorrow's treasures.