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View Full Version : Color Photos of Russia Circa 1900!!



Tuckerfan
2008-Mar-15, 03:01 PM
Yeah, you read that right, and before I go any farther, let me show you what we're talking about:
http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/empire/images/home-image1.jpg

Looks more like something out of a Maxfield Parrish painting than a photograph, much less one taken over 100 years ago! It's from the Prokudin-Gorskii Photographic Record (http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/empire/). Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii was the official photographer to Tsar Nicolas II and he convinced the Tsar to fund an expedition across Russia to photograph the countryside using Prokudin-Gorskii's technique for producing color images. The Tsar agreed and Prokudin-Gorskii took several thousand images of Russia from about 1900-1915 or so. Prokudin-Gorskii fled the country when the Communists came to power and died in Paris in 1944.

His method was pretty simple, and based on the results, I have to wonder why more people didn't use it. (There's a mention of a similar method in an edition of The Boy Mechanics series from about the 1920s or so.) He would put a filter, either red, blue, or green, in front of the lens, take the picture, then pull the plate out (this was back in the time of glass plate photography) along with the filter, slap in another plate and another filter, then do it again with the third filter. After he developed the plates, he would put them in a special projector which would shine an image of all three images on the same spot, he'd then put the corresponding filter in front of the appropriate lens, and *bam* a color image! No doubt this wasn't cheap to do, but how I wish more folks had done this! Take a spin through the collection and you'll see some of the most absolutely stunning images imaginable.

Torsten
2008-Mar-16, 04:29 PM
They really are stunning - another time and place are brought to life with these images.

Quote from the site:
His unique images of Russia on the eve of revolution--recorded on glass plates--were purchased by the Library of Congress in 1948 from his heirs.

What a fortunate event.

Thanks for sharing this.

aurora
2008-Mar-16, 04:49 PM
The technique of taking 3 images with 3 different color filters is still used today by amateur astronomers who want to get a color image with a black and white camera.

Trebuchet
2008-Mar-16, 04:55 PM
The technique of taking 3 images with 3 different color filters is still used today by amateur astronomers who want to get a color image with a black and white camera.

And by many spacecraft, such as Spirit and Opportunity. I'm going to have to browse those images when I've got some bandwidth.

Nick Theodorakis
2008-Mar-16, 06:28 PM
The technique of taking 3 images with 3 different color filters is still used today by amateur astronomers who want to get a color image with a black and white camera.

It's often used in photomicroscopy as well (with cooled cdd cameras and filters).

Nick

mike alexander
2008-Mar-16, 07:18 PM
And by Technicolor.

Gillianren
2008-Mar-16, 07:23 PM
And by Technicolor.

That's what I was thinking. (Not that Technicolor gets used anymore, now that there are cheaper methods of colour filming.)

mike alexander
2008-Mar-16, 08:05 PM
And too bad, in a way (unless the recording is direct-digital). 3-color BW negatives last a very long time, meaning you can recreate a screening print of 'Gone with the Wind' that looks just like the original of 70 years ago. Watching old films from the 70's with their faded dyes can be painful.

Gillianren
2008-Mar-17, 12:09 AM
And too bad, in a way (unless the recording is direct-digital). 3-color BW negatives last a very long time, meaning you can recreate a screening print of 'Gone with the Wind' that looks just like the original of 70 years ago. Watching old films from the 70's with their faded dyes can be painful.

Yeah, I know. I was just watching special features on The Adventures of Robin Hood a couple of weeks ago that talked about that very thing. The colour's awfully rich, too. Richer than real life, some of it.

mike alexander
2008-Mar-17, 02:58 AM
Kodachrome!
They give us those nice bright colors
They give us the greens of summers
Makes you think all the worlds a sunny day, oh yeah!
I got a nikon camera
I love to take a photograph
So mama dont take my Kodachrome away...