"The Empire that Was Russia" in color.

So, I was looking around some of the digital camera places I visit every now and then and I stumbled across this in the forums of one of them.

Bascially, they are color photos from the early 1900s of the Russian Empire. The description says they were taken by Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii using some new method of photography. Below are some links to the photographs and it helps to read the description on the side of the first link.

Russian Empire
The Empire That Was Russia

Just think if this had not been around the eve of World War I and if he hadn’t gone into exile we might be looking at history in a different perspecitive today.

I thought I’de post this little section if you don’t read the website.

Please note that these images are NOT colorized black and white photographs. They were actually taken in colour about hundred years ago!

Because of many years of negligent storing, most of the negatives are in very poor condition, and it takes me hours of scrupulous work to restore their original brilliance. It is just the beginning of the work and I am going to continue. Hundreds of unique colour images of the past are still waiting to be returned back to life.

All the images are about 3000 X 3000 pixels (9-10 Megapixels) and can be printed in various sizes from postcard to poster with perfect quality.

This is really cool. Everyone needs to check this out. Good find, Clark!

I totally agree with DJ. Those are some of the most impressive photographs I’ve ever seen.

They look like paintings
yet their photos
really kool

It’s one of those things, where you always think of that era in black-and-white, because that’s how all the photographs always are. To see that time period, in what look just like modern, high-quality photographs, is simply astonishing. Something just makes it seem more real, like “hey, this really happened; it’s not just an old photograph.” Truly amazing.

In Russia, the pictures take YOU! chuckle

Anyways, that’s pretty awesome.

I admit the colors are stunning, however…

Because of many years of negligent storing, most of the negatives are in very poor condition, and it takes me hours of scrupulous work to restore their original brilliance

Makes me wonder exactly what “hours of scrupulous work” involves. I don’t mean to sound like a cynic, but I’m a little bit suspeeecious. This one:
there is absolutely no grain visible on the gray background and the detail on the couch’s headrest is stunning. I can understand how the rgb-filter technique works, but it seems to me like the filters would have to be changed after every shot, putting a two, maybe three second delay in between shots. Yet, the detail on that picture (the couch, the hand resting in air right about the couch, the part in the model’s hair) in very exact. For that to happen after superimposing three different shots, the model could not have moved at all (otherwise it would be blury). And staying still enough to get that much detail for 5, 7 seconds sounds a little bit doubtful to me.

What I’m getting at is although the technique sounds plausible, that one picture makes me suspicious. Also the complete lack of grain makes me wonder how much photoshop was involved in those “hours of scrupulous work”.

Now, I don’t claim to be an expert in photography… I’m just offering my thoughts. Is there a link to an article that describes this photographer’s technology more in depth? Like for example, did he have a mechanical filter-changer that was capable of taking all three shots in quick succession? Can an expert on photography tell me how (in?)valid my thoughts are?