Over 100 years ago, long before color-sensitive film was invented, the Russian photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky created high quality photos took by taking 3 individual black and white photos, each with a filter (red, blue and green) in full color.
This self-portrait on the Karolitskhali River, ca. 1910, shows Prokudin-Gorskii in suit and hat, seated on a rock beside the Karolitskhali River, in the Caucasus Mountains near the seaport of Batumi on the eastern coast of the Black Sea.
Sergei Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky (1863–1944) Was a chemist and photographer of the Russian Empire. He is best known for his pioneering work in color photography and his effort to document early 20th-century Russia.Around 1905, Prokudin-Gorsky envisioned and formulated a plan to use the emerging technological advances that had been made in color photography to document the Russian Empire. His ultimate goal was to educate the schoolchildren of Russia of the vast and diverse history, culture, and modernization of the empire. He set out to do this around 1909 through 1915 with a specially equipped railroad-car darkroom provided by Tsar Nicholas II and in possession of two permits that granted him access to restricted areas and cooperation from the empire’s bureaucracy. The result was a vivid portrait of a lost world—the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I and the coming Russian Revolution.
While some of his negatives were lost, the majority ended up in the U.S. Library of Congress after his death. Starting in 2000, the negatives were digitized and the color triples for each subject digitally combined to produce hundreds of high-quality color images of Russia and its neighbors from over a century ago.