Three Generations in Zlatoust


This photo by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, taken in Zlatoust, shows Andrei Petrovich Kalganov along with his son and granddaughter. Andrei Kalganov, age 72, is dressed in a caftan adorned with medals. Noticeably, Kalganov’s caftan contrasts with the attire of his son and granddaughter, both of whom are dressed in Western fashion. This aspect of the photo is eye catching as it displays the diffusion of Western culture in a westernizing Russia. I was intrigued by this photo as is depicted the spread of Western styles to Russia, even as far as the end of European Russia.

All three are employed by the Zlatoust Arms Plant, located in the raw material rich Ural mountains. The factory itself was founded by European experts, mostly from Germany, to produce steel products and weapons (Vershinin, 2015). The factory relied mostly on individual craftsmanship for the production of weapons. (Vershinin, 2015). As seen in the picture, Andrei Kalganov is shown wearing medals for mastery and excellency in his craft, leather sheathing saber scabbards (Three Generations). The plant continues to operate today. While the factory armed soldiers with sabers, lances and knives through its operational history, today the Zlatoust Arms Plant specializes in ornate weapons for both ceremonial and collector purposes (Vershinin, 2015).


Prokudin-Gorskii, Sergei Mikhailovich 1863-1944. “Three Generations. A.P. Kalganov with Son and Granddaughter. The Last Two Work in the Shops of the Zlatoust Plant.”WDL RSS. Library of Congress, n.d.<>. Accessed 21 Jan. 2017.

Vershinin, Alexander. Zlatoust: The Cutting Edge of Russia’s Steel Arms Production. Russia Beyond the Headlines. 6 July. 2015, Accessed 22 Jan. 2017.


4 thoughts on “Three Generations in Zlatoust

  1. You should check out Andrew Russell’s blog. He wrote about this picture as well. This is the coolest picture I’ve seen today. It’s just so perfect – Russia suspended between tradition and modernity, the old ways or the new, etc. Great job!


  2. I was really tempted to do my first blog post on this picture as well! In my post I talked about how historical photos with people really intrigue me because they capture a reality so different from ours. This is a great example of that concept. Kalganov’s son is wearing a more Western style suit that is similar to what we may wear today even in America, but the other two are dressed in drastically different outfits than what we see in our day and age. Great job writing about the background and importance of these people in the image!


  3. I like how you noticed the western-style clothing and then mentioned the diffusion of western culture in Russia. I think that it’s important to recognize those aspects of this picture, especially when you are trying to understand what was going on in Russia during this time period. I believe that the diffusion of western culture in Russia played an important part in the transition from a mainly agricultural society to a more industrialized one.


  4. What everyone else said! We should also notice that the third generation – the grand-daughter is significant. Both her clothing and her presence in the photograph signal shifts in traditional gender roles. Love this image.


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