Sunday, May 9, 2010

In Living Color

Every now and again, you see an exhibit that truly blows you away. The Empire That Was Russia, at the Library of Congress, is one of those exhibits. It features the photography of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, who from 1909 to 1915 undertook a photographic survey of the Russian Empire for Tsar Nicholas II. That's right - these color images are around 100 years old. He was able to capture color by taking three pictures of each scene, each with a different red, green or blue color filter. Gorskii used a cunning slide projection system to combine the three filtered images to generate a full color image; if you want to see how the LOC went about combining the images digitally you can read more about it here. In addition to the exhibit, you can search the entire collection of images on-line by clicking here. I'm still trying to get my head around the fact that I'm looking at a color photograph of the last Emir of Bokhara that was taken in 1911. [with thanks to Derya for sharing]

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