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17 Incredibly Rare Color Photos Of Tsarist Russia

A Russian photographer used a special technique to capture color photos from before the Revolution of 1917.

Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) was a Russian photographer who undertook an abitious project of documenting the Russian countryside and people from 1905–1915. He used a method of creating color photography where 3 separate color plates were layered over the original. The photos show a fascinating glimpse into Russia on the eve of the 1917 revolution.

See the full collection of over 2,000 images at the Library of Congress site, or selections on their fantastic Flickr page.

1. Girls by the Sheksna River, near the town of Kirillov

3. “Head study”

4. Cabin and boats at Saimaa Lake

5. Church of the Resurrection on the Blood

6. Leo N. Tolstoi

7. Epiphany church in the village of Ust-Boiarskoe, Olonets Province

8. Crew of the steamship “Sheksna”, 1909

9. Children near White Lake (northern European Russia)

10. The photographer (on right, with fedora) with two men in Cossak clothing

11. Perm. Mary Magdalene Church

12. The Emir of Bukhara, Alim Khan

13. Man standing in front of a yurt

15. A.P. Kalganov, his son and his granddaughter at the Zlatoust arms plant

16. Jewish children and teacher in Samarkand

17. Horse-drawn carts in the Bakalskii mine

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