Saturday, August 28, 2010

How Russia looks like in 1910

Ever wondered how things look like 100 years ago? Street documentary has been one of the crucial tools for historians to look at social changes through the years, so the common snaps on the street or of your family and friends may serve to be important evidence of our current lifestyles more than a hundred years later!

Photo and copyright by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

Photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii went on a huge a photographic survey of the Russian Empire, supported by Tsar Nicholas II between 1909 and 1910. He documented various Russians, from leaders to peasants. You might imagine crummy black and white photos, since the photos was like 100 years ago. But you'd be very surprised to learn that the photos are actually in colour! The photographer used a technique to make quick successive exposures using three coloured filters, which can then be combined later during printing to create colour photographs. Because the original negatives were monochrome, they were very stable and did not suffer the colour fading that you associate with old colour photos. You can read more about the digichromatography process if you're interested.

Take the time to check out the works of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, and I assure you it's well worth your time. It's like a time travel machine, as you view Russia a century ago, as if the photos were just taken yesterday!

Click here to visit gallery.


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