Friday, September 30, 2011

turn-of-the-century color

I've recently discovered the work of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, a Russian chemist and photographer who developed a technique - in the early 20th century, no less - to produce color photographs.  He used a camera that took a series of three monochrome images, using red, green and blue filters; later, these images could be recombined and projected with filtered lanterns to show near-true color images.

Thanks to the Library of Congress (beginning in 2000), and photographer Walter Frankhauser and computer scientist Blaise Aguera y Arcas, we can now see composites of the original surviving negatives provided by Prokudin-Gorskii's heirs.  It's simply astounding...

Bashkir switchman near Ust-Katav, 1910

Mid-18 century Trinity Monastery in Tyumen, ca. 1912

Young Russian peasant woman in a rural area along the Sheksna River near the small town of Kirillov

(source - Wikimedia Commons)

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