Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky

Russian Photographer | Born: 1863 - Died: 1944
Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky (Russian, August 30, 1863 Russian Empire – September 27, 1944) was a Russian chemist and photographer. He is best known for his pioneering work in color photography of early 20th-century Russia.

Prokudin-Gorsky was born in the ancestral estate of Funikova Gora, in what is now Kirzhachsky District, Vladimir Oblast. His parents were of the Russian nobility, and the family had a long military history. They moved to Saint Petersburg, where Prokudin-Gorsky enrolled in Saint Petersburg State Institute of Technology to study chemistry under Dmitri Mendeleev. He also studied music and painting at the Imperial Academy of Arts. In 1890, Prokudin-Gorsky married Anna Aleksandrovna Lavrova, and later the couple had two sons, Mikhail and Dmitri, and a daughter, Ekaterina. Anna was the daughter of the Russian industrialist Aleksandr Stepanovich Lavrov, an active member in the Imperial Russian Technical Society (IRTS). Prokudin-Gorsky subsequently became the director of the executive board of Lavrov's metal works near Saint Petersburg and remained so until the October Revolution. He also joined Russia's oldest photographic society, the photography section of the IRTS, presenting papers and lecturing on the science of photography. In 1901, he established a photography studio and laboratory in Saint Petersburg. In 1902, he traveled to Berlin and spent six weeks studying color sensitization and three-color photography with photochemistry professor Adolf Miethe, the most advanced practitioner in Germany at that time. Throughout the years, Prokudin-Gorsky's photographic work, publications and slide shows to other scientists and photographers in Russia, Germany and France earned him praise, and in 1906 he was elected the president of the IRTS photography section and editor of Russia's main photography journal, the Fotograf-Liubitel. Lithograph print of Leo Tolstoy in front of Prokudin-Gorsky's camera in Yasnaya Polyana, 1908.

Perhaps Prokudin-Gorsky's best-known work during his lifetime was his color portrait of Leo Tolstoy,[6] which was reproduced in various publications, on postcards, and as larger prints for framing. The fame from this photo and his earlier photos of Russia's nature and monuments earned him invitations to show his work to the Russian Grand Duke Michael Alexandrovich and Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna in 1908, and to Tsar Nicholas II and his family in 1909. The Tsar enjoyed the demonstration, and, with his blessing, Prokudin-Gorsky got the permission and funding to document Russia in color.[8] In the course of ten years, he was to make a collection of 10,000 photos. Prokudin-Gorsky considered the project his life's work and continued his photographic journeys through Russia until after the October Revolution. He was appointed to a new professorship under the new regime, but he left the country in August 1918. He still pursued scientific work in color photography, published papers in English photography journals and, together with his colleague S. O. Maksimovich, obtained patents in Germany, England, France and Italy.
In 1920, Prokudin-Gorsky remarried and had a daughter with his assistant Maria Fedorovna née Schedrimo. The family finally settled in Paris in 1922, reuniting with his first wife and children. Prokudin-Gorsky set up a photo studio there together with his three adult children, naming it after his fourth child, Elka. In the 1930s, the elderly Prokudin-Gorsky continued with lectures showing his photographs of Russia to young Russians in France, but stopped commercial work and left the studio to his children, who named it Gorsky Frères. He died at Paris on September 27, 1944, and is buried in the Sainte-Geneviève-des-Bois Russian Cemetery.

Documentary of the Russian Empire
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 systematically. Through such an ambitious project, his ultimate goal was to educate the schoolchildren of Russia with his "optical color projections" of the vast and diverse history, culture, and modernization of the empire. Outfitted 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, Prokudin-Gorsky documented the Russian Empire around 1909 through 1915. He conducted many illustrated lectures of his work. His photographs offer a vivid portrait of a lost world—the Russian Empire on the eve of World War I and the coming Russian Revolution. His subjects ranged from the medieval churches and monasteries of old Russia, to the railroads and factories of an emerging industrial power, to the daily life and work of Russia's diverse population. It has been estimated from Prokudin-Gorsky's personal inventory that before leaving Russia, he had about 3500 negatives. Upon leaving the country and exporting all his photographic material, about half of the photos were confiscated by Russian authorities for containing material that seemed to be strategically sensitive for war-time Russia. According to Prokudin-Gorsky's notes, the photos left behind were not of interest to the general public. Some of Prokudin-Gorsky's negatives were given away, and some he hid on his departure. Outside the Library of Congress collection, none has yet been found.

By Prokudin-Gorsky's death, the tsar and his family had long since been executed during the Russian Revolution, and Communist rule had been established over what was once the Russian Empire. The surviving boxes of photo albums and fragile glass plates the negatives were recorded on were finally stored in the basement of a Parisian apartment building, and the family was worried about them getting damaged. The United States Library of Congress purchased the material from Prokudin-Gorsky's heirs in 1948 for $3500–$5000 on the initiative of a researcher inquiring into their whereabouts. The library counted 1902 negatives and 710 album prints without corresponding negatives in the collection.

(Source: en.wikipedia.org)

Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky
David Bailey: SUMO
 
 

More Great Photographers To Discover

Marcin Ryczek
Nationality: Poland
Born: 1982
Marcin Ryczek was born 1982 in Lublin (Poland). He lives and works in Cracow. His photography refers mainly to symbols and geometry. "Minimum form, maximum content" is the essential principle that characterizes his photos.

His photographs have been presented at exhibitions in USA, Denmark, Holland, Italy, Austria, South Korea, England, Romania, France, Poland, Germany, Japan, China, India … His photos have been published in the press and other media around the (…)
Marcin Ryczek
Marcin Ryczek
Marcin Ryczek
Marcin Ryczek
Marcin Ryczek
Marcin Ryczek
Marcin Ryczek
Marcin Ryczek
 
Cole Weston
Nationality: American
Born: 1919
Cole Weston, born on January 30, 1919 in Los Angeles, was the fourth and youngest son of famed 20th Century photographer, Edward Henry Weston. Cole received his first camera, a 4 by 5 Autograflex, from his brother Brett in 1935. Cole graduated with a degree in theater arts from the Cornish School in Seattle in 1937 and then served in the Navy during World War II as a welder and photographer. After his discharge from the Navy in 1945 Cole worked for Life Magazine. In 1946 he (…)
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
Cole Weston
 
Alison Wright
Nationality: American

Alison Wright, a New York based documentary photographer, has spent a career capturing the universal human spirit through her photographs and writing. For many of her projects Alison travels to the remotest regions of the globe photographing endangered cultures and people while documenting issues concerning the human condition.

Wright’s photography is represented by the National Geographic Society and has been published in numerous magazines including (…)
 
Edward Henry Weston
Nationality: American
Born: 1886 - Died: 1958

Edward Henry Weston was a 20th century American photographer. He has been called "one of the most innovative and influential American photographers…" and "one of the masters of 20th century photography."Over the course of his forty-year career Weston photographed an increasingly expansive set of subjects, including landscapes, still lifes, nudes, portraits, genre scenes and even whimsical parodies. It is said that he developed a "quintessentially American, and specially (…)
Edward Henry Weston
Edward Henry Weston
Edward Henry Weston
Edward Henry Weston
Edward Henry Weston
Edward Henry Weston
Edward Henry Weston
Edward Henry Weston
 
Dave Jordano
Nationality: American
Born: 1948
Dave Jordano was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1948. He received a BFA in photography from the College for Creative Studies in 1974. In 1977 he established a successful commercial photography studio in Chicago, IL, shooting major print campaigns for national advertising agencies.

Since 2000, Jordano has concentrated on and established himself as an awarding winning mid-career fine art documentary photographer. He was awarded an honorable mention in the Houston (…)
Dave Jordano
Dave Jordano
Dave Jordano
Dave Jordano
Dave Jordano
Dave Jordano
Dave Jordano
Dave Jordano
 
Giorgia Borneto
Nationality: Italian

Giorgia Borneto is a young photographer based in Genoa, Italy. She started few years ago, always looking for the details, seeking the right composition and mostly shooting outdoors or in suggestive locations. She always had a strong passion about the fashion world, but it seems that shooting beautiful, well dressed models was not quite enough for her anymore. The way Giorgia takes pictures of women now, is completely different. Nobody knows why she decided to change (…)
Giorgia Borneto
Giorgia Borneto
Giorgia Borneto
Giorgia Borneto
Giorgia Borneto
Giorgia Borneto
Giorgia Borneto
Giorgia Borneto
 
Richard Avedon
Nationality: American
Born: 1923 - Died: 2004

Born in New York on 15 May 1923, Richard Avedon was in possession of a Kodak Box Brownie camera by the age of 12. Having studied philosophy at Columbia University in the late Thirties, Avedon went on to study photography under Alexey Brodovitch at the Design Laboratory of the New School of Social Research. Richard Avedon shot the Paris collections for almost 40 years, and was staff photographer for Vogue from 1966 until 1990. Richard Avedon became the first ever staff (…)
 
Alexey Titarenko
Nationality: Russian/American
Born: 1962

Alexey Titarenko is a Russian American artist. He began taking photographs at the beginning of the 1970s, and in 1978 became a member of the well-known Leningrad photographic club Zerkalo, where he had his first solo exhibition (1978). Titarenko graduated from the Department of Cinematic and Photographic Art at Leningrad's Institute of Culture in 1983.

Since this was creative activity that had no connection with the official Soviet propaganda, the opportunity (…)
 
Neal Menschel
Nationality: American

From www.nealmenschel.com
Neal Menschel has been a photographer for over 25 years. He has photographed five presidents, and traveled the world covering third world politics and development, and environmental issues. He began his career as a photographer for the Anchorage Daily News in Anchorage, Alaska.  As a freelance photographer Neal’s clients (…)
 
Jean Gaumy
Nationality: French
Born: 1948

Jean Gaumy is a French photographer and filmmaker who has been associated with Magnum Photos since 1977. Gaumy was born in Pontaillac, Charente-Maritime, France. He attended school in Toulouse and Aurillac and went to university in Rouen. While a student in Rouen, he began working as a freelance photographer to help pay for his education. In 1973 he joined Gamma (agency).

Much of his work has focused on human confinement. In 1975 he began work on two such (…)
 
David Bailey: SUMO
 
Join our newsletter
Be up-to-date with call for entries, deadlines and other news about exhibitions, galleries, publications, & special events
 
Discover the 6th Issue of AAP Magazine
All About Photo Magazine showcases the winners of AAP Magazine Competitions
 
 
 
The Jules Maeght Gallery is a contemporary art gallery who seeks to engage the San Francisco community by infusing European artists, young and established alike, into a diverse, multimedia dialogue.
 
TAKES U TO THE NEXT LEVEL
 
Since 2005, your guide through contemporary art from a French perspective to let you make exciting choices