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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Prokudin-Gorskii - Pioneering photographer

Where do I start...

Sergei Prokudin Gorskii was a photographer and chemist who invented a method of developing colour photographs that resulted in an unusual vividness and clear colours. The photos below don't look so remarkable by mordern terms,but when you find out that they were all taken before 1915, your opinion might change.

The photographic process was extremely long and involved taking three photgraphs in quick succession under yellow, red and blue filters, and then combining the negatives onto one glass plate, which resulted in amazingly clear colours, but often slightly fuzzy outlines and double (or even triple) exposures if the subject sneezed or was an especially fidgety child.

Prokudin-Gorskii used these techniques to take a photograph of Tolstoy, which became very famous. Off the back of that, he was commissioned by Tsar Nicolas II to document pretty much everything that Russia had to offer, including ethnic and peasant costumes, art, architecture and religious paraphenalia. The result is a remarkable document of Pre-Revolution Russia (and you can see all 2606 slides online on the National Library of Congress website - possibly one of the best ways to while away a rainy day)  in GLORIOUS TECHNICOLOUR! Fanfare please...


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Loads more photos after the jump. 


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Sources : The Fashion Spot via The National Library of Congress