The World in Color, early 1900s

Back when color photography was a mere concept, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii were producing artwork that were groundbreaking & unique at time:

The surrealistic painting look of the image were the result of modern digital process dubbed the Digichromatography, the team recreated the color digital image from the scanned originals and processing them to recreated the color to be as natural as possible. The similar processed, applied with different techniques was used by Prokudin-Gorskii to project the image for viewing at that time.

A single, narrow glass plate about 3 inches wide by 9 inches long was placed vertically into the camera by Prokudin-Gorskii . He then photographed the same scene three times in a fairly rapid sequence using a red filter, a green filter and a blue filter.

Hosted at the US Library of Congress are exhibits of some of his photographic archives, in times of extreme modernization and over simplification, it’s a relief to see the world so flatly serene and raw with a product of such meticulous effort.

If you’re in a hurry, make sure you check out the Architecture & the People at Work section, it’s quite a revelation to see such colorful images coming out of the 1900s.

Making Color Images from Prokudin-Gorskii’s Negatives