20 Historic Photographs by Prokudin-Gorskiĭ of the Russian Empire
Between 1909-1915 Sergeĭ Mikhaĭlovich Prokudin-Gorskiĭ traveled and photographed throughout the Russian Empire. The images he took show a country before communist revolution and the first world war. The series was taken by Prokudin-Gorskii as part of a survey of the russian empire facilitated by Nicholas II, the last Emperor of Russia. Jeremy Adamson and Helena Zinkham in The Prokudin-Gorskii Legacy: Color Photographs of the Russian Empire, 1905-1915, write about the project’s inception:
At precisely 8:30 p.m., Nicholas II and the Tsarina, accompanied by their older daughters and members of the imperial household, entered the room, greeted the photographer, and arranged themselves on chairs set in front of the projection booth. The very first image produced a murmur of approval from the Tsar and as the show progressed, the audience’s delight increased audibly. At intermission, Nicholas II asked what he intended to do with his work. After outlining various projects, including “The Splendors of Russia,” Prokudin-Gorskii added, “Perhaps it would be of interest to Your Majesty to see from time to time the real Russia and its ancient monuments, or the colors of the diverse nature of our great Motherland.” The Tsar assured him he would, and S.V. Rukhlov, Minister of Transportation, soon issued the requisite papers to facilitate his travels throughout the empire.
Prokudin-Gorksii was a pioneer of early color photography. He refined a process that used three black and white glass negatives taken with red, green and blue filters in quick succession. A three lens projector was then used to display the negatives, resulting in the simulated full-color images in the series below. Vintage Photographs on Photistoric.