Oleg Klimov

Sakhalin Island, Russia

A historical photograph of Ainu people who were indigenous to Sakhalin and the Kuril Islands but have largely disappeared over the centuries of Russian colonisation. Photograph by Innokenty Pavlovsky.

In 1890, Russian author Anton Chekhov set out on an 11 week journey across Russia, from Moscow to the Far East. His final destination was the penal colony on Sakhalin Island. The account of his journey and his experiences along the way resulted in a travelogue called "Sakhalin Island". Initially, Chekov planned to produce illustrations for the 1895 edition but on Sakhalin he met local telegraph clerk and amateur photographer Innokenty Pavlovsky who had been photographing on the island. The New Yorker magazine named the book as the best work of journalism written in the 19th century and at the time, the stark contrast between official reports of conditions on Sakhalin and Chekhov's reports of the inhumane treatment of inmates caused an outcry and brought about penal reform.
"Penal servitude was abolished a hundred years ago, but I tried to find its remnants in each of us, including in myself, in order to try to answer that age-old Russian question: how, with such a divine natural landscape, does life end up so miserable?" Klimov asks.

Part of story
Object Name
Oleg Klimov
Sakhalin Island
Max size
High Resolution
3504 x 2432 pixels
29.67 x 20.59 cm (300 dpi)
11.68 x 8.11 inch (300 dpi)
2.1 MB size on disk
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