From the Inspiration File: early 20th-century colour photos

A few years ago I  (Chantal) discovered a website showing the photographs of a certain Russian photographer, Prokudin-Gorskii, that were all developed in colour! It was the most amazing thing ever, to see authentic scenes from over 100 years ago in full colour. Apparently he had developed a special process for developing in colour, but the photos were subsequently lost during the Russian Revolution and only resurfaced later. I often use theses images for reference because they are so vivid.

There is also a very interesting section on the website about re-creating his colour process but using digital methods.

We tend to think of the past in black and white or in sepia tones, so to see it in colour reminds us that those people in the photos really did exist. Here is a selection of favourites:

self portrait of the photographer

Awesome cast iron machinery

Posted in: From the Inspiration File


2 thoughts on “From the Inspiration File: early 20th-century colour photos”

  1. Amazing !
    Imagine the genius capabilities of that Russian Photographer The colors are so vivid. Such a discovery, and so great that the pictures were re discovered in good condition

    I thoroughly enjoy reading all these research discoveries you have made.

    1. Aren’t they great?

      These are digital reproductions of his photos using the original glass plates. The actual paper photos themselves were lost during the Russian Revolution, but the glass negatives survived.

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