Extraordinary Early Color Photographs of Russia


Prokudin-Gorskii (self-portrait)

I thought the color photographs in this Newsweek slideshow were absolutely remarkable. 

They were taken in Russia between 1907 and 1915 by a man named Sergi Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, who was the Tsar Nicholas’ royal photographer

Prokudin-Gorskii fled Russia after the March 1917 Revolution and his huge collection of glass plates and other materials eventually made their way to the Library of Congress (LOC) where they have recently been digitally restored.  

You can view the LOC’s online exhibit of the images here.  The example below is typical.  

The story made me wonder about the history of color photography, and I found this excellent online article which explains the color filters process used by Prokudin-Gorskii.   

It also made me wonder what Greensboro Public Library might have on the history of photography, and here are a few recent books I thought might be interesting:  The Dawn of the Color Photograph:  Albert Kahn’s Archives of the Planet by David Okuefuna; Who We Were:  A Snapshot History of America by Michael Williams, Richard Cahan, and Nicholas Osborn; Lincoln Through the Lens:  How Photography Revealed and Shaped an Extraordinary Life by Martin W. Sandler; Dorothea Lange:  A Life Beyond Limits by Linda Gordon; North Carolina Then & Now, text and photography by Kevin Adams; Pictures from a Drawer:  Prison and the Art of Portraiture by Bruce Jackson; The Blue and Gray in Black and White:  A History of Civil War Photography by Bob Zeller; Photography on the Color Line:  W.E.B. Du Bois, Race, and Visual Culture by Shawn Michelle Smith; and American Photography by Miles Orvell. 

A Beautiful Russian Scene, ca. 1910

A Beautiful Russian Scene, ca. 1910


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