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The Romanovs Through Their Shutter: The Unseen Family Photos

Tsarina Alexandra

As evident in this photograph, Alexandra was an active participant in taking photographs of the family and crew on her vacations.  She seemed to have viewed this as an enjoyable activity due to the copius amounts of photographs taken of her and by her.  

Letter written by Tsarina Alexandra to Princess Maria Bariatinsky

Princess Maria Bariatinsky was a lady-in-waiting for Alexandra from 1896-1898.  In this letter, Alexandra is surprised about a stranger being concerned about her.  She realizes that the stranger’s impression of her is an illusion, and that if he truly knew her, he would no longer be impressed.  This is significant because Alexandra was the creator of her own public image by controlling what the public saw of her in photographs.

Tsarina Alexandra and Anna Virubova

This photographic portrait of Tsarina Alexandra and Anna Virubova is illustrative of the close relationship that the two women had.  Anna was enamored of Alexandra and looked up to Alexandra as a mother-figure.  Anna dedicated her memoirs to Alexandra with the inscription, “To my Empress, with love and fidelity eternal.”  

Tsarina Alexandra "Fainting"

Most historians perceive Tsarina Alexandra as a very stiff, formal, and unhappy woman who did not like to be photographed.  Furthermore, many contend that part of the feelings of animosity towards Alexandra leading up to the revolution was the disconnect between her and the people because of her negative image in photographs.  However, in Anna’s photographs, the Tsarina is an active participant in the photographs, especially with this image in which she is playing with her family by pretending to faint.  

The Life & Tragedy of Alexandra Feodorovna, Empress of Russia : A Biography

In this personal biography, Baroness Shophie Buxhoeveden, one of Tsarina Alexandra’s former lady-in-waiting,  relates her relationship with Alexandra.  In this selected page, she describes fully how important the family vacations on the Standart were to the Romanovs.  For example, many formalities were done away with and the officers of the Standart were part of their lives. 

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Tsarina Alexandra sits on a bench posing for the camera, while her personal camera sits next to her.  In this pristine image, the amusement and funness of the camera can be seen, while surrounding Alexandra is the elaborateness of their personal residence.