Just came across an incredible article at Boston.com, with gorgeous color photos of Russia circa 1910. At first I thought these were colorized photos, but they’re the real deal. The photographer took three photos in quick succession with red, blue, and green filters, then displayed the results by layering colored projectors.
It’s strangely touching to see such a different time and place and know this is actually what these peoples’ world looked like to them. It’s not a reconstruction or a colorization and it’s not just a sepia old-timey approximation.
One thing that startled me was the relative technological advancement displayed in some shots, alongside photos of ragged peasants, nomads, animal-carcass water skins, and tribal chiefs.
Ok, I’m going to stop joking around for a bit. This is sincerely beautiful and interesting. And while the picture above is actually a chapel, this next one is real live 1910 high-tech. Crazy. Some of the photos struck me as almost steampunk-y. Some were simply beautiful in their foreignness.
I keep finding myself trying to figure out what’s going on in the minds of the people in these photos. Their lives, mindsets, and concerns must have been so very different from mine. I mean, we’re all human, but it’s staggering to really sit and try to get in the mindset of a different age on the other side of the world.
I grew up in Turkey, and a lot of the people and landscapes in these photos remind me vividly of my time there.
This is worth spending some time with. It’s valuable to remember from time to time how big the world is, and how many people there are and have been in it.
See all 34 photos in the original article here.
And many more in the Library of Congress collection here.