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By sue

sergei mikhailovich prokudin-gorskii’s photographs of the russian empire

On 01, Aug 2011 | In Art, History, Selected Posts | By sue

These photographs by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) are enchanting and fascinating. In 1909, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II, Prokudin-Gorskii embarked upon a photographic survey of the Russian Empire.
Traveling in a special railroad car provided by Russia’s Ministry of Transportation, he captured a country and a people perched between two eras. His photographs vividly depict medieval churches, industrial projects, and sweeping landscapes. His portraits highlighting Russia’s extraordinarily diverse population and rich cultural heritage are especially compelling. The images are somewhat haunting—it’s jarring to see color photographs of people staring out at you from so long ago.

To produce color photographs, Prokudin-Gorskii used a specialized camera to take three black and white photographs in a row, with red, green, and blue filters. The images were later combined in order to create almost true-to-life colors. The Library of Congress purchased the original glass plates in 1948; see below for some of my favorite photographs. You can learn more about Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic survey here.

sergei mikhailovich prokudin-gorskii-cathedral of the nativity of the virgin-1912

sergei mikhailovich prokudin-gorskii-sart woman in samarkand-1910

sergei mikhailovich prokudin-gorskii-emir seyyid mir mohammed alim khan-1910

sergei mikhailovich prokudin-gorskii-view of nikolaevskii cathedral in mozhaisk-1911

sergei mikhailovich prokudin-gorskii-man and woman in dagestan-1910

sergei mikhailovich prokudin-gorskii-fabric merchant at samarkand market-1911

sergei mikhailovich prokudin-gorskii-church of the resurrection kostroma-1910

sergei mikhailovich prokudin-gorskii-georgian woman-1910

sergei mikhailovich prokudin-gorskii-isfandiyar jurji bahadur-1910

sergei mikhailovich prokudin-gorskii-view of artvin-1910

sergei mikhailovich prokudin-gorskii-jewish children in samarkand-1910

sergei mikhailovich prokudin-gorskii-belozersk chapel-1909


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