They don’t get more obscure or rare than L. Lu Vonago of Krasnoyarsk, a small town in the Russian Republic of Khakassia. His entire known output consists of just 23 pictures. He shot 2 hotel fires and one monomictic Lake resort in the early 1900s.

Republic of Khakassia, Russia.
Krasnoyarsk Krai Museum of Regional History and Folklife.

We don’t know who he or she was. We just have photographs, just a handful, in one of the collections held at the Krasnoyarsk Krai Museum of Regional History and Folklife at Dubrovinskogo St., 84, Krasnoyarsk in Russia.

2 of the photographs are separate hotel fires.

The majority of the rest are scenes at the spa resort of Lake Shira. Perhaps they were taken on a vacation Vonago took with a friend (the same man appears in a few of the images). Lake Shira is an unusual lake in that it’s an extraordiarily rare meromictic lake (one in which, unlike your average lake, the water layers do not mix).

Since there’s precious little left to say about L. Lu Vonago, before looking at his work, it’s well worth a quick look at the museum that looks after his photographs.

The building of the Krasnoyarsk Museum of Local Lore in 1916.

In 1916, someone had the idea and the balls to build the Krasnoyarsk Museum of Local Lore on a dirt road in the middle of nowhere at the turn of the century in the style of an Egyptian pharoah’s tomb. It’s still there, still looking like the building that didn’t get the dress code memo, over a century later.

L. Lu Vonago, 2 Hotels on Fire, Krasnoyarsk, 1900 :

Fire in Krasnoyarsk along Pesochnaya street. (1900) by L. Lu Vonago.
Fire at the Zolotoy Yakor hotel in Krasnoyarsk, (1900) by L. Lu Vonago.

L. Lu Vonago, Lake Shira Resort, 1901 :

Interior of a doctor’s waiting room at Lake Shira resort, (1900) by L. Lu Vonago.
Reception of mud treatments at Lake Shira, (1900) by L. Lu Vonago.
Arnautova Kuhmisterskaya on Lake Shira, (1900) by L. Lu Vonago.
Reception of mud treatments at Lake Shira, (1900) by L. Lu Vonago.
Booths of workers at the resort of Lake Shira, (1900) by L. Lu Vonago.
Shoemaker Fedotov’s booth on Lake Shira, (1910) by L. Lu Vonago.
Laundry at Lake Shira, (1910) by L. Lu Vonago.
Carrier of kumis at the resort of Lake Shira, (1910) by L. Lu Vonago.
Kumis is a fermented dairy product traditionally made from mare’s milk or donkey milk. The drink remains important to the peoples of the Central Asian steppes, of Huno-Bulgar, Turkic and Mongol origin: Kazakhs, Bashkirs, Kalmyks, Kyrgyz, Mongols, and Yakuts. (wiki).
Kukhmisterskaya Yakovleva on Lake Shira, (1910) by L. Lu Vonago.
Shelter for the poor sick at Lake Shira, (1910) by L. Lu Vonago.
Children’s playground on Lake Shira, (1910) by L. Lu Vonago.

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