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.
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.
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.