Thursday, May 01, 2008

Happy New Year


Today is May Day, and (as all fans of the movie Airplane! know) it is also the Russian New Year. In honor of the occasion, I've posted a photograph of the Siberian city of Tobol'sk, taken in 1912 by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. This is an actual color photograph, not a tinted black-and-white print, though it was created through a cumbersome process. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special camera which took three photos of the same image - one through a red filter, one through a blue filter, and one through a green filter. He then loaded his glass-plate negatives into a projector which superimposed the three images on one another to create a final color picture. The photo above can be found, along with many other color photographs of late Imperial Russia, in the collection "The Empire that Was Russia" on the Library of Congress website. The site also includes a short essay on Prokudin-Gorskii and on the digital process whereby the Library re-assembled his photos.

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