Leap back in time

LeapbackintimeThis weekend I came across a fantastic collection of colour photographs from Russia, taken between 1909 and 1912. They were captured by the photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii. He undertook a photographic survey of the Russian Empire with the support of Tsar Nicholas II during that time. I find it really impressive that Prokudin-Gorskii did his own version of rgb processing such a long time ago. The quality of the images stunned me – it’s surreal to be able to get such a realistic glimpse of the past. Furthermore, his images reminded me of some early 20th century photographs I have seen at the Exposed exhibition at Tate Modern. While Prokudin-Gorskii set himself apart from the typical period photographs by using colour, the images from Exposed sets themselves apart by showing the human side of the people from the Victorian era simply by not letting them pose. Unfortunately I can’t find any of those period images from the exhibition online, but this (bottom left) photograph captured by Jacques-Henri Lartigue around the same time should give you a good idea.