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.
Emir Seyyid Mir Mohammed Alim Khan, the Emir of Bukhara, seated holding a sword in Bukhara, (present-day Uzbekistan), ca. 1910 General view of the Nikolaevskii Cathedral from southwest in Mozhaisk in 1911
Alternators made in Budapest, Hungary, in the power generating hall of a hydroelectric station in Iolotan (Eloten), Turkmenistan, on the Murghab River, ca. 1910
A boy leans on a wooden gatepost in 1910. From the album “Views in the Ural Mountains, survey of industrial area, Russian Empire” Peasants harvesting hay in 1909. From the album “Views along the Mariinskii Canal and river system, Russian Empire”
A water-carrier in Samarkand (present-day Uzbekistan), ca. 1910
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.
General view of the wharf at Mezhevaya Utka, 1912
General view of Artvin (now in Turkey) from the small town of Svet, ca. 1910 A chapel sits on the site where the city of Belozersk was founded in ancient times, photographed in 1909 A boy sits in the court of Tillia-Kari mosque in Samarkand, present-day Uzbekistan, ca. 1910