In the early 1900s, Russian chemist and photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii conducted a photographic survey of the Russian Empire. Between 1909 and 1915 he captured images from eleven regions of, what is otherwise, a thinly documented area of the world. What makes the images so unique is that he photographed them using an elaborate system that allowed him to reproduce the final images in color.
What I find instructive is how eerie they seem. Though they were taken 100+ years ago, these vivid, high resolution photographs of people and places look as if they were taken on a movie set last week. Eerie, perhaps, because I’m just not used to seeing images from this long ago in natural color and my brain has a hard time finding them believable.
It’s somewhat analogous to how the filtering effects applied to Instagram images influence our perception of photographs folks are taking today. In that case, the effects remove the images from reality.
The image above shows the photographer, Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky at the far right.
A few examples…
There are several venues that have edited and compiled some of the more interesting images in various forms. This is one of those compilations…
Thanks to Russel Lacy for pointing us to it.