TSARIST RUSSIA IN COLOUR:
Historic Images by Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky slideshow, Tsarist Russia in colour
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Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky was an innovator in photography, a pioneer in colour, and his pictures preserve a Russia long gone – the pre-revolutionary land of empire.
His images captured more than landscapes and monasteries: Uzbek prisoners in a provincial jail, young Russian peasant women, and Austro-Hungarian prisoners of war. His photography on his long trips by train capture a world lost to swift and monumental change.
A century after Prokudin-Gorsky became a pioneer in colour photography, we are finally able to view his compelling body of work. His unique images of Russia on the eve of revolution – recorded on glass plates – were bought by the Library of Congress in 1948 from his heirs. A new exhibit using digital technology finally brings this work to a general audience.
Born in Murom, Vladimir Province, in 1863, and educated as a chemist, Prokudin-Gorsky devoted himself to the advancement of photography.
He studied with noted scientists in St Petersburg, Berlin and Paris. His own research yielded patents for producing colour film slides and for projecting colour films.
He used a camera that took a series of three pictures in sequence, each through a different-coloured filter. By projecting all three pictures, he could reconstruct the vivid colour of the scene.
He travelled around Russia by train, with a railway carriage darkroom provided by Czar Nicholas II and permits that granted him access to restricted areas.
These privileges allowed Prokudin-Gorsky to freely document the Russian Empire from 1907 through to 1915.
Prokudin-Gorsky left Russia in 1918, travelling first to Norway and England before settling in France. By then, the czar and his family had been murdered and the empire that Prokudin-Gorsky so carefully documented had been destroyed.
Source: Rossiyskaya Gazeta