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For some reason I seem to be on a Russia roll at the moment...

The Library of Congress has a new online exhibit of a whole collection of beautiful color images from Russia -- which date from 30+ years before color photos were actually possible! The first color film (Kodachrome) came out in 1936, but a Russian photographer named Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii came up with a way to create color images (though not print them) way back in the late 1800s/early 1900s. He had the idea of taking three black and white photos of a subject -- one through a red filter, one through a green and one through a blue -- and then back at home he would project the three negatives together, each one through the appropriate filter, onto a white sheet or wall. (His projector looks a bit like a stoplight, with three lenses.) The blended RGB light created color images, just like it does on TVs or computers today. Pretty amazing!

The Library of Congress has his negatives and they've created color prints from the RGB negatives. The photos are GORGEOUS -- this page of the exhibit has some of the best ones with the lushest colors (the Emir of Bukhara has a particularly lively robe). The main page for the exhibit has a bunch of information about the photographer and a detailed explanation of his process as well as the process the LOC used to create the color images for the exhibit.

Go. Look. Marvel.

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