In 1909, Russian photographer Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky traveled across his country to document the people and scenery of the time. Using a technique he had developed in his own photography studio, Prokudin-Gorsky was able to capture incredible color photographs. With a background in arts and chemistry, as well as funding from Tsar Nicholas II, Prokudin-Gorsky used a technique which required subjects to pose for up to one minute as three exposures were taken with different color filters. When combined, the exposures reproduced accurate color. An interesting result of this process is the ‘wax sculpture’ quality of the subjects, which comes from having to pose for such a long exposure even when depicting labor and interaction.
Our young friend in the bottom left illustrates what happens when you don’t sit still:
Though the earliest color photographs date back to the 1870’s, the color and clarity of these photographs would not be translated into a technique available to the public for several decades.