Skip to comments.Russia in color, a century ago
Posted on 08/25/2010 8:41:12 PM PDT by Charlespg
With images from southern and central Russia in the news lately due to extensive wildfires, I thought it would be interesting to look back in time with this extraordinary collection of color photographs taken between 1909 and 1912. In those years, photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) undertook a photographic survey of the Russian Empire with the support of Tsar Nicholas II
(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...
I agree, great photos.
But, why does everyone look so happy?
More photos coming 8/27.
Hard to imagine the hell they are going to go through in the next 40 years...
Absolutely fascinating...Thanks for posting!
Ah, those were the good old days except for the Pogroms. My family left before the Pogroms really got underway, and the only photos I have of them are in the brown sepia tones.
These photos are fantastic and show a way of life that still exists in some of the further recesses of the old Czar and Soviet Empires.
I see that burquas haven’t change and that women still suffer under them.
Huh. I thought I had the whole collection, and while I have a lot of pictures that aren’t shown here, a good chunk of those they’re showing I don’t have. I guess they’ve colorized more of the archive since I downloaded it from the LOC.
It’s a lot easier to convert the images to color today than it used to be, thanks to computers. ;)
Taking a trip on the Trans-Siberia Railway is on my Bucket List.
(Sophisticated English voice) Absolutely stunning, very exquisite!
The second photo, next to the creek, gives a good indication of the long shutter speed based on the look of the water.
But damn amazing photos for being a century old.
This one in particular caught my imagination - this young man would not have remembered the 1905 revolution but he would have been in his late teens during the Bolshevik one if he hadn't been snapped up for the Russian army in the meantime. He would have seen the starvation in the 30's, the Terror, and would have been a middle-aged man when the Germans came over the border in 1941. He'd have gone, of course, plucked from the Urals to the front, and if he survived he'd have seen Sputnik and in the 70's when the U.S. left Vietnam, a Soviet Union triumphant as it hadn't been since 1945. He'd have seen the decay of the 80's and if he were lucky the fall of the world he knew in 1991.
That's really quite a lifetime if in fact he were spared to live it. The odds aren't very good given what happened to his people, but if he did, what a life.
Those aren’t color converted photos. They’re the real deal. Color photography was being experimented with in the mid 19th century. Made it out of the lab and into the hands of photographers (who could afford it) around the turn of the 20th.
They are amazing and beautiful pictures.
Wow, these are great!
Remarkable. The colors look as though the pictures are of recent vintage.
Interesting group of pics. Thanks!
It was a special process with red, green, and blue filters and recombining them to make color. Very interesting.
And they look awesome.
At first I suspected it was because in 1910 folks from that culture may not have been that comfortable around cameras, if they even knew what a camera was.
But Doc nailed it. From the comments:
Incidentally, very few people are smiling in old photographs because the exposure times might be from 15 seconds to several minutes, depending on the emulsion in use, light, and lens. Hard enough to hold still, much less to maintain a smile!
The lack of smile is due to the technic used by the potographer: he had to expose 3 different plates to get a color shot so the subject was exposed for a long period of time and should remain still so smiling was almost impossible. You can see in the picture involving a river that the exposure was quite long enough to give that smooth effect to the water.
Yea I can see a few of them. But dial up isn’t friendly for a 30 picture download. I can see about 10 of them. Amazing.
Those are incredible! Thanks for posting. It’s like seeing a world I’ve never seen.
Yes, amazing pictures. Thank you for posting.
I didn’t realize that color photos that good were being made in the early 1900s.
Beautiful, but heartrending to think how soon it was all about to be turned upside down.
If only that horrible war had been avoided. . .
I thought it interesting that the fat guy in the blue satin tunic, the Emir of Bukhara. His daughter ended up working for the Voice of America per Wikipedia.
Those are of just outstanding picture quality!
Beautifully spoken. It was mesmerizing to read while examining the photo. Thanks.
Post #14: Well reasoned contemplation. Thanks.
Wow I didn’t know they could take color pictures back then.
I wonder why more pictures such as that weren’t taken. The process was too expensive maybe?
No, they weren’t. They were three separate black and white photos with color filters over them.
They couldn’t. What they did was put three color filters over the lens for each of three subsequent black-and-white shots, which the library of congress later recombined digitally back into color. Because things move in-between shots, you see unusual color artifacts on smoke, water, etc.
There are some YouTube videos of Jews in Warsaw in 1939 months before the start of the war, that are in color, you watch them and realize these people had no idea what was about to happen to them in just a few months.
I’ve seen that video...it’s haunting to me to see their faces...not knowing what horrors awaited them..
At least some parts of the U.S.S.R. were just out of the reach of the Nazis..though many from those areas were conscripted and volunteered for miltary service...but at least some were spared from the grip of the Nazis because they lived just far away enough, like the eastern Caucasus and further east.
I was referring to the 1914 War. If that one had been avoided, no Lenin/Stalin, no Hitler, probably no Great Depression, no Wilsonian template for FDR’s mass expansion of the fed gov, etc., etc.