Wednesday, 16 November 2011

inspiration: russia in colour, 1910

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Something a little bit different today... I've had these pictures bookmarked on my computer for over a year now, but fall seems like the perfect time to post them somehow. Photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii took these photos on a tour of the Russian Empire only a few short years before the revolution. What's revolutionary about the photos however, is that they're in colour. So often we look at old pictures through a black and white filter that is as much mental as visual... I'm sure I'm not alone in half-believing that the past must have existed in black and white, and that has a distancing effect. Here, in colour, these long-dead Russians from an entirely changed world seem so much closer to the present; colour lends their faces contour and contrast, I can almost imagine myself teaching English to the gentleman above...

There's some pretty fantastic fashion inspiration to be found here of course, in the form of velvet, colour and embroidery, but these photos also leave me inspired and enthused for my life... they remind me to be more curious, to read more, to see the world with technicolour eyes.

More photos and information on this series can be found here

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26 comments:

Teaka said...

Wow! Such stunning photos. I so like that first one with the beautiful dress that older women is wearing!

NRIGirl said...

Stunning indeed! Thank you for sharing.

Michelle said...

I wasn't even aware there was colour film back then. Pretty darn amazing.

Rachel, Cold Knees said...

Wow these are amazing! My friend and I used to refer to the past as the "black and white days". These literally look like they were taken a few days ago (maybe on a lomo camera..) That fat dude looks like quite a character. xx

Amber Blue Bird said...

these photos are beautiful. I wish more historic photos like these were available in color. There is something about seeing the mix of colors that really makes the photos seem real.

Stop by & enter my Shabby Apple Giveaway.

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Michelle: There wasn't; or at least, these weren't shot on colour film. The article I link to describes that the photographer took three pictures of each event, through a red, blue and green filter, and they were afterwards combined... pretty crazy, huh?

My Favourite Fashion Things said...

wow he did amazing job taking these photos, they look gorgeous

Virginie's Cinema said...

And thank God for them being in colours because those fabric are absolutely gorgeous and definitely inspiring!

I love posts like that :)

Virginie ♥

Virginie's Cinema said...

And thank God for them being in colours because those fabric are absolutely gorgeous and definitely inspiring!

I love posts like that :)

Virginie ♥

Cat said...

Wow, these are AMAZING - thank you for sharing!

Cat xxx
http://www.takecourageblog.com/

Louise said...

I had no idea colour photographs existed back then....but what you have written rings so true. These people seem more real to me than those in black and white pictures. I also love what you said about making you want to be more curious and see the world more clearly...very wise :)
Sorry I've been so awful at commenting on your blog lately, I really do love it! And thanks for your comment on mine, I am having a lovely time!

Emily, Resplendent Tranquility said...

Wow. Thanks for sharing these photos, Emily. They are really quite extraordinary. Exquisite, even. Just think if more photographers of yore had used filters to reproduce color! But, as you mentioned, it's gems like these that instill the need in us to "be more curious, to read more, to see the world with technicolour eyes."

Julia Topaz said...

Yeah, completely amazing.
I remember seeing a few of these after being linked to some color photos from the Depression/WW2 on the US Library of Congress' flickr page. I still revisit them from time to time.

Arielle said...

I have this bookmarked too! StumbleUpon always brings me to the best sites like this. I'm just happy there's stuff still out there like this to be seen!

-Arielle
www.humblepievintage.com

Emily, Ruby Slipper Journeys said...

@Julia: I'll definitely have to check that out... Depression era colour photographs would really make me feel closer to my grandparents, I think!

@Arielle: Yeah, I knew I couldn't be the only one who had seen and enjoyed these!

kittehinfurs said...

These are amazing! So much love for posting them.

blue roses said...

these photographs are incredibly beautiful, i have never seen any quite so subtle yet opulently impressive and luxurious. such an interesting intersection of rich cloth, detailing, with the backdrop of a simple and isolated country life. i am excited to learn more about this series, and the technique in which they were printed at that time.

http://dallianceswithsuitsandskirts.blogspot.com/

Closet Fashionista said...

These are so cool! And these outfits could definitely be translated for real life wear :)
http://www.closet-fashionista.com/

Monique said...

glad you decided to share these. yes it's funny how we view the past as void of color.

Miy said...

look at those details!! love the outfit so much..

Hugs,
The Picnic Girl

Eleni said...

Astonishing!

Ally said...

As you mentioned, the colourful characteristic of these photos are make them so captivating, as well as the fashion. I find photos like these to be so inspiring. Thanks so much for sharing :)

xx, Ally

pinsandroses.blogspot.com

Hannah said...

Gorgeous photos thanks for sharing I am feeling very inspired. x

So Yeah So said...

This is incredible. And it's so true about thinking of the past in black and white. I was so excited when I first discovered that Victorian houses were painted in candy colors, and I love to see current owners of Victorian houses painting them brightly.

Heather, 29 Skirts said...

These photos are breathtaking! I just had to click through to boston.com to see all of them...I can't believe how beautiful they are.

dusanabotswana said...

Def agree with you about the black and white vs. color, hack off that dress a bit & it's a style photoshoot right there. really though, these are so cool to see, thanks!