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Tsarist Russia in Color



In 1905-1916 Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorsky (1863-1944), an early 20th century Russian photographer and researcher, has created "The Collection of the Splendors of Russia in Natural Colors" - a unique set of color photographs of the Russian Empire on the eve of the October Revolution of 1917.The creation of color photographs in the early 1900's was technically and logistically complex.To capture a color scene, a small, folding hand camera with a vertically sliding plate moved the glass plate three times in one second intervals. At each position an exposure was recorded through one of three filters corresponding to the colors red, green, and blue. After each exposure, the camera's vertically sliding plate dropped to the next position.

The color images displayed here are a product of modern color separation techniques. S.M.Prokudin-Gorsky has made at least 3500 triple negatives registering on a single glass plate three separate black and white images taken through the blue, green and red filters. Each negative is a triple black and white image. Although from some of the negatives Prokudin-Gorsky did make carbro color prints or slides, the author was never able to see his entire collection in color.



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