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100-Year-Old Color Photos from the Russian Empire

No, color film did not exist in 1909, but chemist-turned-photojournalist Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) had pioneered a revolutionary method to document pre-Revolution Russian Empire and its multicultural surroundings. Using color-filtered plates of glass, he captured a red, a blue and a green channel of each of rivers, railroads, villages, churches of olde. Even more fascinatingly, we can look 100 years back in time on the faces of real peasants, factory workers, noblemen, soldiers, sailors and botanists. Peek into the past with these amazing scenes from 1909 through 1912, courtesy of the Library of Congress. The borders give it an extra magical touch, don’t they?


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Peasant girls. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Mezhgore. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Group of workers harvesting tea. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Dagestani people. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. On the handcar outside Petrozavodsk on the Murmansk railway. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. At harvest time. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Three generations. A.P. Kalganov with son and granddaughter. The last two work in the shops of the Zlatoust plant. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Molding of an artistic casting. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Armenian women in customary dress. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Views along the Mariinskii Canal and river system, Russian Empire. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Cotton, botanical garden. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Ėmir Bukharskīĭ. Bukhara. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. View of Novaia Ladoga. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Head study. Courtesy Library of Congress


Photo credit: Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. Lilacs. Courtesy Library of Congress

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