The people and spectacular cityscapes of tsarist Georgia captured in vivid color by a world famous photographer.
This is one of more than 100 images made by the Russian photographer Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky on the territory of today’s Georgia — then a part of the Russian Empire. The astonishing color photos were made shortly before Vladimir Lenin’s revolutionaries seized power in Russia in 1917 and, later, sent their conquering Red Army to impose communist rule over the Caucasus.
Prokudin-Gorsky (1863–1944) first traveled through the Caucasus with his camera in 1905, then returned to the sun-drenched region in 1912 as one of the greatest early practitioners of color photography.
Prokudin-Gorsky perfected a complex early method of color photography that required three separate images of each scene to be shot, with color filters placed over the lens. When the three black-and-white photos were sandwiched together and had red, green, and blue light shone through them, a color image could be projected.
Although he worked in at least 16 countries, more than one-quarter of the photos Prokudin-Gorsky took outside of his native Russia were made on the territory of today’s Georgia.
After the 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, Prokudin-Gorsky fled Russia and eventually settled in Paris.
Soon after his death in 1944, the U.S. Library Of Congress purchased 1,902 images from the great photographer’s relatives — including 139 taken on the territory of today’s Georgia.