~ Aristocratic Elegance of Russia ~
Every time when I look for my family records I find some new information. Historical and cultural interest naturally makes people who are passionate about what they do to keep discovering further and wider. The internet gives them the ability to publish the results of their discoveries and I am just blessed with an option of learning more and more about my family through their works. This of course is due to another blessing =>> I was lucky to be born in to a well-known; one of the pre-revolutionary Russia's and thereafter Soviet Union's elite families. The first official record of distinctive achievements of one of the Temnomeroffs' (that I came across so far) goes back to 1821. Since then there was a steady flow of noted accomplishments by Temnomeroff's family in the areas of education, spirituality, military, published works and advisory roles to the Palace and the government officials.
The Very Reverend Sir Apollo Michailovich Temnomeroff, my Great GrandPapa was a grandiose social and spiritual figure of his time as well as a loving and devoted son, brother, husband and father. His books are still renowned as an outstanding work and being studied by contemporaries. His name is often mentioned or referred to in various research articles as well as autobiographies of some of the most known aristocratic names. For instance, it was a breath-taking discovery for me to learn from Matilda Kschessinska 's (Polish ballerina and mistress of the future Tsar Nicholas II of Russia) memoirs that she was renting a room in our family's house in Anapa (South Russia). She also made warm comments about my Great uncle Vladimir Temnomeroff (approx. 19 y.o. then) who later became a professor at Harvard and the Sorbonne and the Head of immigration department in the UN after the WWII.
Nowadays his book on maths and economics can be found in Cambridge and Oxford universities libraries. Having lived most of his life in France Sir Vladimir Temnomeroff was also known for his Psychic and Mediumship performances in Paris and as one of the founders of the Scout Movement in France.
It is due to Vladimir's interests in performing magic tricks I met one of the Attaches in the Russian embassy in London who happened to be a fan of my great uncle's 'magic' work. In the private archive I have discovered that Vladimir Temnomeroff was steadily supporting his mother Pelageja Temnomeroff, his younger sisters (including my grandmamma Ksenija) and brother who remained in Soviet Russia by sending funds from Europe… and that is another story...
Many suggest that it would be a good idea to publish a book or even produce a film based on the story of my family. This exhibition is the first part of the very personal project of mine presenting a small glimpse of my family's private life before the Soviet Revolution in 1917.
One wall is presenting the photographs of the various family members taken in the photographic studios by professional photographers. The opposite wall consists of the private life 'snap shots' taken by the two photo cameras owned by Sir Apollo Temnomeroff who was a keen photographer.
My dearest friend and fellow creative maverick David Champion have identified the most likely used model of one of those cameras. He then found just the one at this year's Old Camera Show in London. Thereafter he was kind enough to create a photo portrait of me with the use of that camera. It was rather emotional to be photographed in the exact way as my family members were more than 100 years ago.
In support of my project Dan Bachmann created a series of studio shots featuring me using his digital Leica.To deepen the connection with the past times and the family roots I have created two outfits (in which I was photographed) that are representative of my family style whilst being contemporary everyday dresses.
If I carry on further here, this exhibition description will turn in to large novel… which I might find courage to write one day. And for now I would like to invite you to celebrate with me the courage, the strengths, the beauty, the differences and the similarities that we all have within us!
PS The Camera Club @ 16 Bowden Street is the place where you never know who you can bump in to. On the afternoon of our photo-shoot with Dan we met Ada, who was visiting the club's building doing her architectural research. So we gladly invited her to capture the moment. This is how she became part of the story too! Thank you, Ada!
About Ada: Ada Bartholomew 24 | Nigerian Heritage Architecture Student At London South Bank
"It is an honour being a part of a great piece of work, and all it took was vulnerability and being myself. In a world where the new generation is so stuck up in their own problems making them a bitter sweet individual, they... as in myself lose touch with the present. I was fortunate to be at the right place at the right time to be encounter a lovely experience. My reason for being at the camera club is because it is the case study for a design project at University. Instead of fish out as much information on the building via the holy grail we call the internet, why not visit it in person. There is no better way of learning about something than interacting and seeing it in the flesh.
The mission was to go in, talk to a couple of people gathering information and measure the place to create a floor plan, but fate had better plans in mind. While doing my thing, a lovely lady which I was soon to find was Kate Coe approached me and had an interest in what I was doing. One thing led to another and ended up taking a few photos with her. It still amazes me how a little interaction can turn into an opportunity to create work of art, and now I realise it is places like these that makes this possible."
~ Ada Bartholomew~