Angela Natividad's Live & Uncensored!

05 September 2009

100-Year-Old Russian Technicolor

This is a photo from the body of work produced by Russian photog Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii, now archived by the Library of Congress. The texture and scene is so stark that the colour seems gratuitously lush. And interestingly, the process that imbued this image with living pigment is as dated as the picture itself: about a hundred years old.

From Mike Davidson:
The process used to create and develop the photos is revolutionary yet simple. Essentially, three separate shots are taken, each with a different color filter over the lens: one red, one blue, and one green. The shots are then composited to form incredibly lifelike color portraits. It’s actually quite similar to color compositing in modern applications like Photoshop, but to see it applied to photos taken 100 years ago is mindblowing.
This is why Twitter's cool: because you find awesome things like this. And then it occurs to you that if Photoshop-style colour compositing could've been used a century ago, long before we deign to believe it was possible, then we too can dream things up a century ahead. It's a matter of refusing to let our times, and our view of what's possible, forbid us.

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