Art

These color photos from Imperial Russia in the early 20th Century are hauntingly gorgeous

It’s easy to forget that the past did not take place in black and white. But these photos from Imperial Russia in the early 20th Century are a gorgeous reminder of how that’s not the case.

Amazingly, Photographer Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky did the colorization of the photos back when they were taken – they were not colorized later. According to Bored Panda:

Color photography, in the way that we understand it, was not possible at the time, but it was possible to create a color image for the viewer by completing three separate photographs. Prokudin-Gorsky had to take three separate photographs of the same subject – once with a red filter over the lens, once with a green filter, and once with a blue filter (red, green, blue – RGB – is a set of color channels used by many digital images as well). Later on, these three monochromatic images would be projected through filters of those same colors onto a screen and superimposed. When viewed through a final filter, they would appear as a realistic color image to the viewer.

Look:

Emir Seyyid Mir Mohammed Alim Khan, the Emir of Bukhara, (present-day Uzbekistan), 1910

Emir Seyyid Mir Mohammed Alim Khan, the Emir of Bukhara, (present-day Uzbekistan), 1910

Nikolaevskii Cathedral in Mozhaisk, 1911

Nikolaevskii Cathedral in Mozhaisk, 1911

Switch operator on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, near the town of Ust Katav on the Yuryuzan River, 1910

Switch operator on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, near the town of Ust Katav on the Yuryuzan River, 1910

 

Sart woman wearing a purdah in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 1910.

Sart woman wearing a purdah in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, 1910.

A group of Jewish children with a teacher in Samarkand, (in modern Uzbekistan), 1910

A group of Jewish children with a teacher in Samarkand, (in modern Uzbekistan), 1910

A dog rests on the shore of Lake Lindozero in 1910.

A dog rests on the shore of Lake Lindozero in 1910.

An Armenian woman in national costume poses for Prokudin-Gorskii on a hillside near Artvin (in present day Turkey)

An Armenian woman in national costume on a hillside near Artvin (in present day Turkey)

Sukhumi, Abkhazia and its bay, seen sometime around 1910 from Cherniavskii Mountain.

Sukhumi, Abkhazia and its bay, seen sometime around 1910 from Cherniavskii Mountain.

Russian children sit on the side of a hill near a church and bell tower near White Lake, in Russia, 1909

Russian children sit on the side of a hill near a church and bell tower near White Lake, in Russia, 1909

See the entire collection here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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    Isaac

    May 3, 2014 at 5:21 pm

    Isn’t it hard to remember that the past wasn’t in black and white?

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