Color photographs of the Russian Empire

We offer you a look at Russia different. These color photographs were taken between 1909 and 1912 by photographer Sergey Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorsky (1863 - 1944). The photographer traveled around Russia with the support of Tsar Nicholas II. For shooting, he used a special camera. The camera took three consecutive black and white shots with almost no pause, through red, green, and blue filters. To view such photographs, a projector with three lenses located in front of three frames on a photographic plate was used. Each frame was projected through a light filter of the same color as the one through which it was shot. When adding three images (red, green and blue), a full-color image appeared on the screen. Thanks to the amazingly high quality of photos and amazingly bright colors, it is hard to believe that these pictures were taken a century ago, before the October Revolution and even before the First World War. We invite you to take a look at a selection of these amazing photos that are in the Library of Congress, which acquired them back in 1948 year.

Color photographs of the Russian Empire

1. An Armenian woman in national costume on a hillside near Artvin (now this territory is part of Turkey), circa 1910.

2. Photographer's self-portrait on the bank of the Korolistskhali River, circa 1910. Prokudin-Gorsky, in a suit and hat, sits on a rock on the banks of a river flowing in the Caucasus Mountains, not far from Batumi, on the eastern coast of the Black Sea.

3. Masters of Kasli casting, around 1910. Photo from the album "Views of the Ural Mountains, an overview of the industrial region, the Russian Empire."

4. A woman on the banks of the Sim River, in what is now the Chelyabinsk Region, 1910.

5. Chapel on the site where the city of Belozersk was founded in ancient times, 1909.

6. View of Tiflis (Tbilisi) from the Church of St. David, circa 1910.

7. Isfandiyar Yurji Bahadur, Khan of the Russian protectorate of Khorezm (Khiva, today part of the territory of modern Uzbekistan), circa 1910.

8. Portrait of Isfandiyar Yurji Bahadur. Presumably this photo was taken in the early years of his reign, around 1910, when the khan was 39 years old. He ruled Khorezm until his death, which followed in 1918.

9. A young shepherd on the banks of the Sim River. The photo was taken in 1910.

10. Transformers made in Budapest, Hungary, in the generator station hall at Yolotan, (Eloten), Turkmenistan, on the Murghab River, circa 1910.

11. Georgian woman, 1910

12. A group of women from Dagestan, 1910.

13. Panorama of Artvin (now Turkey), photo taken from the small town of Svet, circa 1910.

14. Eighty-four-year-old Pinkhus Karlinsky. He devoted 66 years of his life to military service. Responsible for the lock gates of Chernihiv, which are part of the Mariinsky canal system. The photo was taken in 1909.

15. General view of the Nicholas Cathedral from the southwestern part of the city of Mozhaisk, photograph taken in 1911.

16. A group of Jewish children with their teacher in Samarkand (today the territory of Uzbekistan), 1910.

17. A worker on the Trans-Siberian Railway near the city of Ust-Katav on the Yuryuzan River in 1910.

18. Cornflowers in a field of rye, 1909. Photo from the album "Views of rivers and canals of the Mariinsky system, Russian Empire."

19. Laying cement during the construction of the dam lock across the Oka River in 1912, near Beloomut.

20. A Sart woman wearing a veil in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, circa 1910. Before the revolution of 1917, the Uzbeks living in Kazakhstan were called the “Sarts” nationality.

21. General view of the pier on the Mezhevaya Utka River, photograph taken in 1912.

22. Peasants gather hay, photograph taken in 1909.

23. Prokudin-Gorsky on the trolley of the Murmansk railway near Petrozavodsk, the coast of Lake Onega. The photo was taken in 1910.

24. Water carrier in Samarkand (now the territory of Uzbekistan), around 1910

25. Sleeping dog on the shore of Lake Lindozero in 1910.

26. Plant in Kina, Russia, property of Count S. A. Stroganov, 1912.

27. Children sit on a hill near the church and the bell tower near the White Lake in 1909.

28. Emir Sayyid Mir Mohammed Alim Khan - Emir of Bukhara - poses with his sword in Bukhara (present-day Uzbekistan) in 1910.

29. The boy at the wooden gate. Photo from 1910.

30. Metal bridge on stone supports across the Kama River, part of the Trans-Siberian Railway, near Perm, Ural Mountains, 1910.

31. Kirghiz nomads in the Hungry Steppe (present-day Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan), circa 1910.

32. A man and a woman in Dagestan, 1910.

33. General view of Sukhumi and the bay, Abkhazia. The photo was taken approximately in 1910 from Chernyavskaya Gora.

34. A boy in the courtyard of the Tillia-Kari mosque in Samarkand, the territory of modern Uzbekistan, 1910.
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  1. kimdmitri
    23 October 2011 12: 58
    How modern! The breathtaking.
  2. +5
    23 October 2011 13: 55
    yes they knew how to photograph and work
  3. +2
    23 October 2011 17: 08
    I would also like to upload photos of the Cossacks. I know that the photos of their ancestors were carefully transmitted from generation to generation
  4. +2
    23 October 2011 17: 41
    Ofiget, pics do honor and modern cameras
  5. zczczc
    23 October 2011 18: 29
    And I was holding a German camera of the 1880s in my hands! Lens Carl Zeiss.

    Such feelings, I looked through, there you have to put the whole face in it! Imagine what he saw! They say it cost incredible money. By the way, it is better to shoot architecture with such a camera than with a modern one - there will be no distortion on the sides.

    Here's something like that, just simpler, it’s, apparently, more modern:

    1. +1
      8 February 2013 13: 39
      And the dimensions? Now the camera is a rather small technique, soap dishes are very small ...
      And these photos were taken on purpose, they carried a large apparatus.

      But the quality is certainly killer ...
  6. AlexMH
    23 October 2011 23: 31
    Magnificent photographs ... How do you imagine that everything depicted on them is more than 100 years old, and people who have not been around for a long time, as if alive, seemed to be filming with a modern camera. And paints are better than now in electronic photos - live paints ..
    Only a small correction - there are no transformers at the hydroelectric station, but the generators are removed. Transformers usually don't spin :)
  7. sirToad
    24 October 2011 05: 53
    Good photos! But Isfandiyar, Khorezm - spilled Ahmad Shah, huh? and the inaccuracy is small. there are not transformers, but generators.
  8. 0
    30 October 2011 12: 43
    Already it became sad.
  9. Evil Tatar
    30 October 2011 14: 04
    Pancho, my friend ...
    Do not be sad-hrusty ...

    In general, I agree that it is sad.
    Photo of 1910, when grandfather was born, and great-grandfather was very young.

    The generator is a copy of the compressor that still works ...
  10. 0
    April 7 2014 20: 49
    Just amazing! Surprising and admiring the quality of photos.
  11. 0
    20 July 2015 14: 50
    No words .... I looked with my mouth open)))