Absolutely breathtaking pictures from Russian chemist and photographer Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky (August 30, 1863 – September 27, 1944), best known for his pioneering work in color photography of early 20th-century Russia. In them we see a vivid portrait of a lost world — the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I and the coming Russian Revolution.
Around 1905, Prokudin-Gorsky envisioned and formulated a plan to use the emerging technological advances that had been made in color photography to document the Russian Empire systematically.
Outfitted with a specially equipped railroad-car darkroom provided by Tsar Nicholas II and in possession of two permits that granted him access to restricted areas and cooperation from the empire’s bureaucracy, Prokudin-Gorsky documented the Russian Empire around 1909 through 1915.
He conducted many illustrated lectures of his work. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries of old Russia, to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, to the daily life and work of Russia’s diverse population.
It’s always amazing to me that people REALLY DRESSED in traditional native outfits. I mean, they all look like they’re in high school productions of Fiddler on the Roof. And yet it’s REAL. Crazy. And I would wear the fuck out of ANY of these outfits today. Such panache.