Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky: Colour Photography Pioneer

A friend of mine introduced me to this photographer by showing me a photo and asking me when it was taken. Here is the photo:

Prokudin Gorskii

It turns out that the photo was taken around 1915, by a Russian photographer/chemist named Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky (1863 to 1944). He was one of the first photographers to tackle the problem of taking colour photographs. Some of his techniques led to patents for producing colour film slides and for projecting colour motion pictures. Basically, his technique involved taking three monochrome pictures (red, green, and blue — RGB anybody?!) and mixing them together to get the original colours of the scene. Apparently, if you look carefully you can see that there is a “ghosting” effect because the subject might move slightly between the three different shots. Fascinating stuff!!

Links to check out:

Anyways, I personally couldn’t believe it when I saw the date. I had no idea colour photography went that far back! Thanks Thomas for sharing!

Have a great weekend everybody.


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