The lost world of Sergei Ivanovich Borisov’s turn of the century Southern Siberian Retro Kitch Postcard. Circa 1907.

People Relaxing in the Main Alley of Chemal Forest. Beshpek Crest.
Altai Shaman with Tambourine in Front of
a Traditional Chaadyr Dwelling.

This collection of strange & slightly unnerving early 20th century colour(ed) postcards made by photographer Sergei Ivanovich Borisov (1859-1935) in the Altai Mountains region of southern Siberia early in the 20th century. Borisov was born into a family of serfs in Simbirsk (present-day Ulyanovsk) and forced to work as a child. In the late 1880s he moved to the city of Barnaul in Altayskiy Kray, where in 1894 he opened a photography studio. This studio later became the largest and most popular in the city. In 1907, Borisov began a four year expedition into the Altay Mountains. He took around 1,500 photographs during this mammoth trek, which, upon his return to Barnaul, he presented to the public using a magic lantern. The photographs remote corners of the Altai Mountains and the Altai and indigenous Kazakh people. Borisov offered the photographs to European publishers for the production of postcards. The there are two series of color postcards. The first series was issued by the Swedish printing company Granberg Society in Stockholm so someone, at least made Borisov’s years in the wilderness worthwhile. but it is not known where the second series was published. This small edit is from both series. The postcards are housed in the Altai State Regional Studies Museum srchives in Barnaul and were digitized in the early 2000s for the Meeting of Frontiers digital library project.

Far from being high art, these images are worthwhile as unique examples of a miniscule niche genre: turn of the century Southern Siberian Retro Kitch.

Valley of the Katun River near the Confluence of the Togus-Kan River.
Kazakh with a Golden Eagle, on a Horse with Yurts in the Background. Valley of the Arakan River,
a Tributary of the Chernaia Berel River.
Chuiskii Tract. On the Slopes of Kyngrar Cliff. Above the Confluence of the Maly Eloman River into the Katun River.
Summer Residents near a Cave in the Vicinity of the Village of Chernyi Anui on the Karakol River.
Group in front ofa Traditional Chaadyr Dwelling in Dolina Katuni.
Valley of the Kuragan River, Right Tributary of the Katun River. In the Vicinity of Belukha Mountain.
Dolina Katuni.
Altai Woman in National Costume (Hat- Kuaraan Boruk, Sheepskin Coat- Ton, Sleeveless Garment- Chegedek;
Clothing of a Married Woman) with a Horse.
A Pack Road Along the Katun River near Its Confluence with the Argut River. In the Vicinity of Iukhtener Mountain and Stream.
Kamyshla Waterfall. Located at the Confluence of the Kamyshla River with the Katun River.
Yurts of Kazakhs in the Valley of the Middle Reaches of the Katun River.
The Area of Airdash Between the Villages of Uznezia and Cheposh.
Summer Residents in the Valley of the Ergol River, a Tributary of the Charysh River.

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