Nearly a hundred photographs from the time of the First World War have come to Tsarskoye Selo from a private archive in Yakutsk to be put on display at the Martial Chamber as an exhibition titled Heroes With No Names, which will run from August 5 through October 31, 2015.
The core of the display is the photographic materials by Konstantin A. Dobrohotov, taken during his service as a military physician in the Russian Imperial Army in 1915–6. Interested in faces rather than horrors of the war, Dobrokhotov captured the spirit of the time in his stills of Russian officers and soldiers in their everyday life. He served in the 46th Brigade Ordnance Field Park, was wounded several times in 1915, returned to the frontline, took part in the Russian Civil War of 1917-22 and then in the Great Patriotic Wars of 1941–4, during which he headed a rear hospital in Kharkov.
As a physician, Dobrokhotov had and knew how to use chemical reagents, which made his photographing hobby less challenging than it was for others in the early twentieth century. He probably used an easy-to-handle Kodak camera, since those became popular in Russia in 1906. As keeping First World War documents at home was dangerous during the Soviet era, he had to dispose of all his photographic archives, except the negatives that he left to his grandson Vladimir.
Vladimir Dobrokhotov, a well-known photojournalist in Yakutsk, kept his grandfather’s negatives over 60 years. He printed the photographs for the first time only in 2014 for an exhibition in Yakutsk commemorating the centenary of the beginning of the First World War.
The current exhibition at the Martial Chamber marks one year since the permanent display Russia in the Great War was opened there on 4 August 2014. Over this time, the display has drawn more than 48,000 visitors, nearly 10,000 of them schoolchildren.
Organized by the Sakhamedia holding company and Tsarskoye Selo, the exhibition Heroes With No Names is free with a ticket to the Martial Chamber. Visiting information