Saturday, October 27, 2012

NOSTALGIA: The color photographs of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (born in 1863 in Murom) was a pioneer of photography in Russia and a pioneer of color photography. Very little has been written about his life history. Like so many of the artists and architects of pre-revolutionary Russia, he has been forgotten, leaving a blank space in the history of photography that remains to this day.

Prokudin-Gorskii was given the task of capturing the old Russia in images, on behalf of the czar Nicolas II in 1909. This made him a witness to change. With his color photographs, he created extensive documentation, a remembrance of a space and a time that were about to vanish forever.

The period during which Prokudin-Gorskii worked - the late nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth century - was a period of social, political, and technological upheavals. Some of these changes were slow to establish themselves, and their future consequences could therefore barely be guesses at; others, however, could not be ignored. The old Russia of Tolstoi and Chekhov was gradually passing away.

Nostalgia is currently on exhibit at Gestalten, Berlin.

The Russian Empire of Czar Nicholas II
S.M. Prokudin-Gorskii
Peasant girls, 1909
Emir of Bukhara, 1911
At harvest time, 1909
Pinkhus Karlinskii, 1909
Group of workers harvesting tea, year between 1905-1915
Settler's family in the Settlement of Grafovka in Mugan Steppe, year bet. 1905-1915
Dinner during haying, year 1909
At the Saliuktin mines on the outskirts of Samarkand, year bet. 1905-1915

Courtesy of Gestalten, Berlin
Nostalgia; The color photographs of Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii
October 19 - November 25, 2012

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