Russia through the lens of Prokudin-Gorsky – a century later


Sergei Mikailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863 – 1944)

Sergei Mikailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863 – 1944) is best known for his pioneering work in colour photography and his effort to document early 20th-century Imperial Russia.

Using a railroad-car darkroom provided by Tsar Nicholas II, Prokudin-Gorskii traveled the Russian Empire from around 1909 to 1915 using his three-image colour photography to record its many aspects. While some of his negatives were lost, the majority ended up in the U.S. Library of Congress after his death. Starting in 2000, the negatives were digitised and the colour triples for each subject digitally combined to produce hundreds of high-quality colour images of century-ago Russia.

In recent years, a group of ambitious Russian photographers revisited the places documented a century earlier by Prokudin-Gorskii and photographed them as they look today. The 14 photographs shown below, depict churches, monasteries, monuments, and other buildings which have been separated by a century of wars, revolution and changes of borders. They are remarkable, for they show how little some of them have changed in a hundred years.

Note: the photos on the left were taken by Produkin-Gorskii more than 100 years ago, while the photos on the right were taken recently be contemporary Russian photographers:


Click HERE to browse the The Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii Collection in the collection of the Library of Congress in Washington, DC.

Click HERE to read my article Old Ekaterinburg through the lens of Prokudin-Gorsky featuring 22 colour photos.

© Paul Gilbert @ Royal Russia. 19 February 2019