These color photographs were all taken in the Russian Empire between 1909 and 1918.
Sergei Prokudin-Gorskii was a Russian photographer born in 1863. After studying chemistry with Mendeleev and later with Adolf Miethe, Gorskii started developing his own techniques and processes of color photography, giving it a quality that impresses even today.
In 1909, he convinced the Tsar Nicolas II to send him on a trip across the Russian Empire to document its impressive diversity. It was a 10-year project, during which Gorskii took over 10,000 pictures.
The diversity of the people, and the shockingly modern colors of their portraits, make them impossible to forget. They are our contemporaries, now that they stopped hiding between the unfocused black-and-whiteness.
They are almost too present. [via]