158 photos
New: the whole gallery is now available for download! Please click on any picture and select from "Featured Products".

The photographs of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) offer a vivid portrait of a lost world - the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I and the coming revolution.

Born in St. Petersburg and educated as a chemist, Prokudin-Gorskii devoted his career to the advancement of photography. In the early 1900s, he developed an ingenious technique of taking colour photographs. The same object was captured in black and white on glass plate negatives, using red, green and blue filters. He then presented these images in colour in slide lectures using a light-projection system.

Supported by Tsar Nicholas II, between 1909 and 1915, Prokudin-Gorskii completed surveys of eleven regions of Russia, traveling in a specially equipped railroad car. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries, to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, to the daily life and work of Russia's diverse population.

In 1918, after the revolution, Prokudin-Gorskii went into exile, taking with him only his collection of nearly 2,000 glass-plate negatives and his photograph albums. The collection was purchased by the Library of Congress (LOC) in 1948 from his heirs.

In 2001, the number of glass plates have been scanned and, through an innovative process known as digichromatography, brilliant colour images have been produced. Virtual exhibition The Empire that Was Russia attracted millions of people throughout the world.

When I first saw Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs, I was so amazed and fascinated that immediately decided to try digichromatography myself. I have downloaded and restored 156 images that you can see on this website. Because of many years of negligent storage, most of the negatives are in very poor condition, and it takes me hours of scrupulous work to restore their original brilliance. Hundreds of unique colour images of the past are still waiting to be returned back to life.

High quality prints are now available through this website. The original images are of high resolution and can be printed quite large. I printed number of them at 30x26" (75x65cm) to decorate my apartment, and they look gorgeous! By purchasing prints and downloads, you will support my ongoing project. The more you buy, the more time I can devote to the project and the more often new images will appear here. Check back soon!

All restored photos from this gallery are now available in full size for download or on a CD. Please click on any picture and select from "Featured Products".

Alex Gridenko
Pozharskii Hotel in TorzhokReceiving cotton at the mill in Bairam-AliHouse of the assistant manager in Murgab EstateResurrection Monastery in TorzhokMan on camelCotton textile mill interiorIsfandiyar, Khan of KhorezmMassandra. Garden near the PalaceIn ItalyIn LuganoCatholic monastery in Fiesole, ItalyLuganoLuganoOn the island of CapriStudy with a BoyCathedral of Saints Peter and PaulMonument outside the Cathedral of Saints Peter and PaulCathedral in PetrozavodskRailroad bridge on the river Shuya

Guestbook for 100 Year Old Colour Photographs by S. M. Prokudin-Gorskii
You were in such a beautiful places :)
Pozharskii Hotel in Torzhok is truly fascinating :)
3.Geoff ARnold(non-registered)
These photographs are beyond comment. They are simply stunning.

To answer the question about process. Three different plates, each with a different colour filter, combined later to produce the colour images.
Fascinating! I'm curious about the process. Were all 3 exposures on the same plate? Were the exposures divided by 1/3? What size plates? Thanks.
I am absolutely thrilled, I cannot tell you what a huge joy I felt viewing your site. I am very much in love with Russian culture(I am from Romania, although I live in England), from Gogol to Soljenitin, from Siskin to Russian constructivism. I am actually one of the very few romanians who love Russia, with all the snobishness of today and blind pro-americanism. When I was 13 I visited Moscow and Leningrad and I was very much impressed, in Moscow by the huge spaces, the VDNH exhibition, panorama Borodino, etc, and in Leningrad by...everything, especially Petrodvorets. Even now I am rereading Anna Karenina, and I was looking for pictures from tsarist Russia. This is the Russia Cehov - the greatest writer of all time! - was writing about...I am stupefied, I cannot tell you what happiness I felt, I almost cried...its like a dream coming true...one million thanks...once my financial situation is better, I will buy some photos...till then, all the best
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