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Russian Empire in Persons: Prokudin-Gorsky Photography Expedition

Russian Empire in Persons: Prokudin-Gorsky Photography Expedition

We used to think that the technology of photographing in color appeared in the middle of the twentieth century. However, at the beginning of the last century, the Russian inventor, chemist and photographer Sergey Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorsky practiced a unique method of obtaining color photographs on the equipment of that era.

Having studied the experience of European colleagues, the photographer began to shoot in three stages: each frame was alternately shot using color filters of red, blue and green. Then three finished frames were simultaneously transmitted with the help of a projector to the screen, and a full color picture was obtained. Prokudin-Gorsky perfected the method of Western masters: he reduced the shooting time, reduced the exposure to 1 second, and developed a method for printing photographs on postcards.

The inventor was able to show his work to Emperor Nicholas II, and he ordered Prokudin-Gorsky to make a large-scale photo chronicle of all corners of a huge country.

For these purposes, the photographer was allocated a separate railway car with residential compartments and a photo lab. Since 1905, Prokudin-Gorsky has traveled throughout the Russian empire, taking pictures of landscapes, buildings and, of course, people — both in group shots and in everyday life, for their daily activities. It was his honor to take the only color photograph of Leo Tolstoy.

“Easy Useful” offers you the first series of shots of Prokudin-Gorsky. They captured the contemporaries of the photographer, among whom there are notable people, for example, the emir of Bukhara, and ordinary people.

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