The Colours of the Empire

Everything appears so modern and contemporary. Yet Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky’s
photographs were taken between 1905 and 1915. He was a chemist and member of
the Russian Imperial Technical Institute where, with his tutor Adolf Miethe, he
developed a technique to separate colours leading to the invention of the first colour
slides. By enabling the successive layering of three monochrome plates, he
succeeded in recreating the colours as shot. After the 1905 Russian Revolution, he
set off to capture the diversity of the Empire. It is difficult to believe that these
fragments of history haven’t been coloured by hand. Yet every one of these
photographs, which are conserved at the Library of Congress in Washington and are
little known in Europe, are presented in their original state following careful