Historical Photographs

I am fascinated by the early 1900s. Two websites I often browse for interesting historical photos are Shorpy.com and the Library of Congress (specifically the collection of Prokudin-Gorskii color plates). #SFWApro

shorpy himself

Shorpy Higginbotham, 1910

Shorpy.com is a vintage photography blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago. The website owners mine the Library of Congress for old photos, as well as accept photos from members and visitors – it has become a wonderful resource and is an interesting site to browse.

prokudin-gorskii cropped

Prokudin-Gorskii, 1910

I blogged about the Russian photographs when I first found them in the Boston Globe.  Prokudin-Gorskii created color images of people and landscapes in Russia over 100 years ago – prints made from his plates are truly impressive. He photographed the scene once with a red filter, once with a green filter, and then finally with a blue filter.  He then combined and projected them with filtered lanterns to create near-true color photographs. These photographs were taken before the Russian Revolution had begun.

I highly recommend browsing the LOC’s collection of his photographs  for an amazing trip through time. (skim through the collection to the thumbnails with colored borders to find the filtered ones)  We are so used to sepia photographs from years past.  Seeing them in color is striking.


One response to “Historical Photographs

  1. Too freakin’ cool. I had no idea there were color photos back then. I see you’re reading Embassytown. Excellent work.

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