beauty in photography~Russia

Here is an extraordinary collection of color photographs taken between 1909 and 1912. In those years, photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) undertook a photographic survey of the Russian Empire with the support of Tsar Nicholas II. He used a specialized camera to capture three black and white images in fairly quick succession, using red, green and blue filters, allowing them to later be recombined and projected with filtered lanterns to show near true color images. The high quality of the images, combined with the bright colors, make it difficult for viewers to believe that they are looking 100 years back in time.

An Armenian woman in national costume poses for Prokudin-Gorskii on a hillside near Artvin (in present day Turkey), circa 1910
Self-portrait on the Karolitskhali River, ca. 1910. Prokudin-Gorskii in suit and hat, seated on rock beside the Karolitskhali River, in the Caucasus Mountains near the seaport of Batumi on the eastern coast of the Black Sea

A chapel sits on the site where the city of Belozersk was founded in ancient times, photographed in 1909
Isfandiyar Jurji Bahadur, Khan of the Russian protectorate of Khorezm (Khiva, now a part of modern Uzbekistan), full-length portrait, seated outdoors, ca. 1910
A Georgian woman poses for a photograph, ca. 1910
A group of women in Dagestan, ca. 1910

A switch operator poses on the Trans-Siberian Railroad, near the town of Ust Katav on the Yuryuzan River in 1910
Sart woman in purdah in Samarkand, Uzbekistan, ca. 1910. Until the Russian revolution of 1917, "Sart" was the name for Uzbeks living in Kazakhstan
A man and woman pose in Dagestan, ca. 1910
Emir Seyyid Mir Mohammed Alim Khan, the Emir of Bukhara, seated holding a sword in Bukhara, (present-day Uzbekistan), ca. 1910


  1. Modesty was the norm in this day & age, what a shame these times are so different imagine a shop window display of Victoria Secret here. Modern times have changed so much & nudity has become normality. Thank god for islam & the hijab! The guy at the end looks like Pavarotti, dont you think?

  2. All true, we live in corrupt times and nudity/immodesty place a vital role in this!

  3. Traditional Islam entered the Caucasus through Daghestani's, so, they have a special place in my heart. When many Georgians converted to Islam from Christianity (through Daghestani's) they were driven away by Russians to the Ottoman Empire and were resettled- my sisters husbands ancestors being some of them. It's interesting the photographer chose Russian subjects to photograph and capture, much appreciated. Unfortunately much of Caucasian culture is lost but not so much as Turkish culture is. Sorry didn't mean to sound so political. Great post.

  4. Thanks for the info MLW! I put these pictures up becasue I fell in love with the photography, clarity, composition, subject matter! I didnt really look into the why but thats all interesting too!:)

  5. amazing photos!!! a little eerie also...

  6. I thought the same thing coco!