DINESS. The Enigma that is Diness

thirty Years ago in the archives of one of the Leningrad museums I managed to stumble on a large collection of glass negatives, the author of which was listed A. Dines. Shooting the Russian Far East, Sakhalin, Khabarovsk, Ussuriysk, Port Arthur, China, Beijing… a lot of pictures! And all this reportage shots, people, events. And the signature on them – it ’A. Dines».

for Many years in the still pre-Internet era, I tried to find in St. Petersburg and the far East archives some information about this photographer. But, alas, all was in vain. Ran in various sources for this name, but only just! I thought his name: Alexander, Alex, Andrew… Later on the Internet met the historical pictures with captions ’Photo A. Dines».

these Negatives were large (24×30 cm) format. Glass plates each of which is decently weighs – imagine that you are holding a glass window or mirror of this size. Now understand that this plate must be in wooden cassette (usually bilateral), and hence there are two such glass. Now the cassette tape with glass weighs about three to four pounds!!! And this is only to make TWO (!!!) the snapshot. And if you want to make ten shots – it is five cassettes and almost TWENTY pounds of weight !!! Yes, the camera with lens – 5-7 pounds, Yes the same weighs tripod for it. Now imagine that the photographer had with all this cargo, not to mention personal things, I had to move across the large expanse of the Far East on the chaise, on the road…. Hell of a job!!!

And what are only the subjects of his pictures: a convict prison on the island, the Siberian gold mining, washing gold-bearing sand, the cruiser » Varyag” on the RAID Port Arthur, the life and views of this military Outpost of Russia, Sakhalin peasants and the superintendent. Manchuria and China, the inhabitants of Kamchatka. One of my favorite photos – Sakhalin residents – Russian settlers and aborigines – Ainu, which have long disappeared from the island.

just recently, one local historian has sent a letter, where among other things he told about his hobby. He mentioned the names of the photographers, heritage studies which he was engaged. Among them was the name of «A. Dines». Slicin the scenes filming, the signature on the negatives and characteristic features of handwriting, we definitely have come to the conclusion that this is the same photographer, the details of which, I’ve been looking for. What was my surprise when a mysterious A. Dines was… aglae Pavlovna Diness. Fearless female photographer, creativity which I am trying to make available people interested in the history of Russian photography.