About History – Color Photographs of early 20th Century Georgia by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky (1863 – 1944) was a Russian photographer known for his pioneering work in photographing the early 20th-century Russian Empire in color.

Color Photograph of Tbilisi in the early 1900s by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

Color Photograph of Tbilisi in the early 1900s by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

Color Photograph of Leo Tolstoy by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

Color Photograph of Leo Tolstoy by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

In 1901, Prokudin-Gorsky established a photography studio and laboratory in Saint Petersburg and a year later traveled to Berlin to study color sensitization and three-color photography.

His best-known work during his early photographic career was a color portrait of Leo Tolstoy.

This photo brought him to the attention of Tsar Nicholas II who gave his support for Prokudin-Gorsky to photograph the Russian Empire in color.

Prokudin-Gorsky’s goal was to educate the people of Russia with his “optical color projections” of the history, culture, and modernization of the Russian Empire.

Prokudin-Gorsky considered the project his life’s work and continued his photographic journeys throughout the Russian Empire until after the October Revolution. Over the course of ten years, he amassed a collection of 10,000 photos.

After the Russian Revolution he established a photographic studio in Paris and gave lectures, showing his photographs of the Russian Empire.

As part of his travels throughout the Russian Empire Prokudin-Gorsky visited Georgia and photographed architectural monuments and aspects of cultural life. The following photographs were taken in the early 1900s.

Color Photograph of the Romanov Summer Palace in Likani by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

Color Photograph of the Romanov Summer Palace in Likani by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

Color Photograph of Timotisubani Church by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

Color Photograph of Timotisubani Church by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

Color Photograph of a Hotel in Gagra by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

Color Photograph of a Hotel in Gagra by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

Color Photograph of an Electric Turbine Station at Gagra by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

Color Photograph of an Electric Turbine Station at Gagra by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

Color Photograph of a Mineral Water Establishment in Borjomi by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

Color Photograph of a Mineral Water Establishment in Borjomi by Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky

The surviving boxes of Prokudin-Gorsky’s photo albums and negatives were purchased from his heirs by The United States Library of Congress in 1948 for $3500–$5000.

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