Great Job, Internet!: These century-old color photos from Tsarist Russia are eerily beautiful

Today, we have cameras everywhere; photography is anything but a novelty. But things were different in Russia a century ago, during the reign of Tsar Nicholas II. Back then, when successful chemist and Russian nobleman Sergey Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) decided to travel across his homeland and document its people in pictures, color photography was an eccentric, esoteric hobby that required considerable money and some scientific know-how. Luckily, Prokudin-Gorskii had plenty of both, and now some of his hauntingly beautiful work is being spotlighted in a fascinating gallery at Dangerous Minds.

Image: Sergey Prokudin-Gorskii (Photo: Dangerous Minds)

These pictures, dating back to 1909-15, largely document the relatively calm era just before Nicholas II (thinking he was doing God’s will) plunged his country into World War I, a decision that led to widespread famine, revolution, and ultimately Nicholas’ own assassination. But the tumult and misery to come is not evident in these …

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