Art Alert: Color Photography from Russia in the Early 1900’s

This has nothing to do with working out or eating clean, but food for the spirit is important fuel, too.

Check out this collection of Russian photos from the early 1900s
. I can’t get enough of the rich colors and patterns in their clothing, and the contrast between the stark landscape and the ornamentation of the native costumes, the hats, the door, and the palace.

The photographs of Russian chemist and photographer, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, show Russia on the eve of World War I and the coming of the revolution. From 1909-1912 and again in 1915, Prokudin-Gorskii travelled across the Russian Empire, documenting life, landscapes and the work of Russain people. His images were to be a photographic survey of the time. He travelled in a special train car transformed into a dark room to process his special process of creating color images, a technology that was in its infancy in the early 1900’s. Prokudin-Gorskii left Russia in 1918, after the Russian Revolution had destroyed the Empire he spent years documenting. To learn more about the Prokudin-Gorskii, the process he used to create the color photographs, and see his collection, you can visit the Library of Congress, who purchased his glass negatives in 1948 after his death in 1944.

Peasant girls, Russian Empire. Three young women offer berries to visitors to their izba, a traditional wooden house, in a rural area along the Sheksna River, near the town of Kirillov; 1909 Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii Collection (Library of Congress).

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  • georgia says:

    I feel like I just took a journey through a fantasy world. All the colors and the architecture…how can anyone look at those images without creating some sort of fantastic story in their head.

    Maybe Mom is right and I DO need to incorporate more color into my wardrobe?