Thursday, August 5, 2010
Ryan Kirby submits Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii
The only visual records that we have of the 1900’s are black and white photographs and a few motion pictures. It’s only natural that one will think of that time period in black and white and not in color. In the early 1900’s Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, was sent on a mission by the Tsar to document all of Russia’s regions. By the time he was done photographing the Tsar had been assassinated and Russia had become a communist country under control of Lenin. When he had made the photographs he used an ingenious system of color slides to expose the glass plates. When he shot a subject he would shoot them using a blue, green, and red filter. He had the glass plates with him until his death in 1944 and they were purchased by the Library of Congress in 1948. Only until recently has the public been able to see the images he has captured. Using a process called digichromatography the glass plates have been scanned and combined to create vibrant images that were at least a century before their time. His compositions are stunning and detailed showing pre-soviet Russia in great detail. Much of what was photographed by him was destroyed once the Tsar was overthrown and besides the technical innovation, holds valuable sociological and geographic information of that time period.