Back to 1910s – Color photographic collection of the vast Russian Empire before the beginning of World War I


These unbelievable colour photos of Russian Empire a century ago (1909-1915), even before the beginning of World War I, were taken by the active photographer and scientist Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky (1863-1944) when to our knowledge there’s only black and white photography. Prokudin-Gorsky was a pioneer of three-colour process technique at that time, who used specialized camera in three shots: one in red filter, one in green, and one in blue, to accomplish his color documentary project, very close to the true colors of photographed objects, including people, industry and agriculture, architecture and construction, villages and cities, etc. After the October Revolution, Prokudin-Gorsky fled Russia with the negatives; the U.S. Library of Congress purchased the precious collection from photographer’s son and published in 1980.

A man and woman pose in Dagestan, ca. 1910 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (19)

An Armenian woman in national costume poses for Prokudin-Gorskii on a hillside near Artvin (in present day Turkey) old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (24)

A group of Jewish children with a teacher in Samarkand, (in modern Uzbekistan), ca. 1910 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (10)

A switch operator poses on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, near the town of Ust Katav on the Yuryuzan River in 1910 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (9)

A dog rests on the shore of Lake Lindozero in 1910. From the album “Views along the Murmansk Railway, Russian Empire” old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (1)

Russian children sit on the side of a hill near a church and bell tower near White Lake, in Russia, 1909 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (28)

Sart woman in purdah in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, ca. 1910. Until the Russian revolution of 1917, “Sart” was the name for Uzbeks living in Kazakhstan old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (6)

Emir Seyyid Mir Mohammed Alim Khan, the Emir of Bukhara, seated holding a sword in Bukhara, (present-day Uzbekistan), ca. 1910 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (27)General view of the Nikolaevskii Cathedral from southwest in Mozhaisk in 1911 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (12)

A general view of Sukhumi, Abkhazia and its bay, seen sometime around 1910 from Cherniavskii Mountain old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (11)

Alternators made in Budapest, Hungary, in the power generating hall of a hydroelectric station in Iolotan (Eloten), Turkmenistan, on the Murghab River, ca. 1910

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On the Sim River, a shepherd boy. Photo taken in 1910, from the album “Views in the Ural Mountains, survey of industrial area, Russian Empire” old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (17)

Nomadic Kirghiz on the Golodnaia Steppe in present-day Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan, ca. 1910 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (25)

A boy leans on a wooden gatepost in 1910. From the album “Views in the Ural Mountains, survey of industrial area, Russian Empire” old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (26)Peasants harvesting hay in 1909. From the album “Views along the Mariinskii Canal and river system, Russian Empire” old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (4)

A group of women in Dagestan, ca. 1910 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (14)Isfandiyar Jurji Bahadur, Khan of the Russian protectorate of Khorezm (Khiva, now a part of modern Uzbekistan), full-length portrait, seated outdoors, ca. 1910 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (18)

A water-carrier in Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan), ca. 1910

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Prokudin-Gorskii rides along on a handcar outside Petrozavodsk on the Murmansk railway along Lake Onega near Petrozavodsk in 1910 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (3)

Laying concrete for the dam’s sluice, 1912. Workers and supervisors pose for a photograph amid preparations for pouring cement for sluice dam foundation across the Oka River near Beloomut old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (7)

A Georgian woman poses for a photograph, ca. 1910 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (15)

Cornflowers in a field of rye, 1909. From the album “Views along the Mariinskii Canal and river system, Russian Empire” old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (8)

Self-portrait on the Karolitskhali River, ca. 1910. Prokudin-Gorskii in suit and hat, seated on rock beside the Karolitskhali River, in the Caucasus Mountains near the seaport of Batumi on the eastern coast of the Black Sea. old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (23)

General view of the wharf at Mezhevaya Utka, 1912

 

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Molding of an artistic casting (Kasli Iron Works), 1910. From the album “Views in the Ural Mountains, survey of industrial area, Russian Empire” old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (22)

A woman is seated in a calm spot on the Sim River, part of the Volga watershed in 1910 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (21)

General view of Artvin (now in Turkey) from the small town of Svet, ca. 1910 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (13)A chapel sits on the site where the city of Belozersk was founded in ancient times, photographed in 1909 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography (20) A boy sits in the court of Tillia-Kari mosque in Samarkand, present-day Uzbekistan, ca. 1910 old-color-photographs-century-ago-russia-historical-colour-photography

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