Turkestan in the photos of S.M. Prokudin-Gorsky
The name is S.М. Prokudin-Gorsky (1863, Vladimir Province, Russia-1944, Paris, France), an outstanding Russian engineer, a pioneer of color optical photography, rightfully acquires wide popularity nowadays, when public interest in everlasting historical values increases. During his expeditions to Central Asia in 1907 and 1911, using his method of obtaining color optical photographs, hundreds of photographs were taken, which depict unique monuments of architecture of Samarkand and Bukhara, are depicted with great ethnographic authenticity by the inhabitants of this region, landscapes, irrigation facilities and much more. This is a hundred-year-old photos that give an opportunity to see the contemporaries of the recent history of our region with all the possible authenticity.
A brief history of the method used by Prokudin-Gorsky is as follows.
In 1902, the German photochemist Adolph Mitte developed a method for obtaining a color photographic image. From one point, three different filters were taken through three negatives, they were displayed, fixed, and three transparencies were obtained. Images from slides were projected onto the screen, placing in front of each of them the filter through which the picture was taken.
On December 13, 1902, Prokudin-Gorsky made the first report on the method of producing color transparencies using the tri-color photograph method. And in January 1905 he introduced the meeting of the photographic department of the IRTS with the results of the work of the previous three years in the Berlin laboratory of Professor Mita and in St. Petersburg. The reporter shows about seventy pictures taken by him in Russia and abroad. Images are different in color and content: the views of Dagestan and the Caucasus, autumn views of Finland, winter landscapes, genre paintings, the effects of the setting sun and so on.
The professional authority of Prokudin-Gorsky is growing rapidly. From publications in the press it is known that in the winter of 1905 a talented scientist "admires St. Petersburg and Moscow with his color projections." He becomes one of the leading masters of Russian photography.
In the Petersburg laboratory, Prokudin-Gorsky was able to synthesize a chemical substance that makes the bromo-gelatin plate uniformly sensitive to all colors. In addition, he achieved an increase in her hypersensitivity, which was extremely important. The well-known landscape photographer I. Bobir wrote that color photography using the Mitya method requires a very long exposure, which "reaches 30-40 minutes in bright sunlight, and at a pavilion shooting of a vase of flowers and still lifes in a bright sunny day it reached 1 hour 20 minutes , in the cloudy - exceeded 3 hours 20 minutes ». Plates processed using Prokudin-Gorsky technology required exposure through each of the filters within ¼-¼ - ½ second. Such a small exposition opened up impressive opportunities.
Prokudin-Gorsky owns a patent for a "camera for color cinematography," which the scientist already received in emigration, in England in 1922. Moreover, both color photo and color cinema in their further development moved along a completely different highway: not through repeated exposure through three "main" light filters (red, green, blue (RGB) - red, green and blue, color) into three areas of the information receiver, and through simultaneous exposure to different layers of the same receiver. Nevertheless, some of the most advanced studio digital cameras are built on the principle that Prokudin-Gorsky adhered to. For example, Sigma with matrices from Foveon, where for each color is used, in fact, its own matrix is true, for one exposure.
In 1906, the photographic department of the Imperial Russian Technical Society (IRTS) elects Prokudin-Gorsky chairman, and the Russian photographic society in Moscow - its honorary member. He becomes publisher and editor of one of the oldest Russian photographic magazines - "Amateur Photographer".
Prokudin-Gorsky interested Nikolai II with his photographs, and, according to the photographer's recollections, "he was given by the highest order Pullman's car, specially equipped according to my orders. There was arranged a fine laboratory, turning a wish from light to dark for execution of works on the road and in parking lots, as well as a room for the life of my and my companions. This car was given to me at full disposal, attached to the train indicated by me, detached at the station where I intended to work, and was put on this sideline on a siding. We continued to live in our car, made trips for shooting, and then again moved to the next planned way. "
The documents issued by the tsar's office provide Prokudin-Gorsky access to all corners of the Russian Empire, and local administrations must provide him with all possible assistance. After the end of each expedition, the photographer processes the footage, shows the work to the Minister of Railways, andthen demonstrates the pictures in Tsarskoe Selo. Prokudin-Gorsky came to Turkestan three times. For the first time (December 1906-February 1907), he, as part of the expedition of the Russian Geographical Society, was going to shoot the total eclipse of the Sun in the mountains of Turkestan. To remove the eclipse it is hampered by the weather, but the failure is more than compensated by the results of the next month - all January is removed by Samarkand and its environs. The Turkestan cycle of 1907 occupies one of the most worthy places in the collection of a photo artist. Demonstrating color projections to members of the Duma and the State Council at a gala evening on May 30, 1908, Prokudin-Gorsky gave a significant place to Turkestan monuments, especially emphasizing the historical significance of documenting color. Two more trips to the Turkestan regions Prokudin-Gorsky make in the spring and autumn of 1911, and the first of them devotes to the shooting of Bukhara.When he traveled in Tashkent, he made a report about the color photo he invented in the Tashkent Khiva Theater. The beginning of the first department was devoted to a detailed explanation of the method of photographing in natural colors, and then Professor Prokudin-Gorsky demonstrated views. The pearl of his photo collection is a portrait of the Bukharian emir Said Alimkhan. This is one of the most striking and interesting portraits performed by the master. It is no coincidence that not a single exhibition of the photographer's works has not bypassed his attention. The Turkestan photos made by Prokudin-Gorsky in 1911 show that by this time the photo artist, apparently, reached the peak of his creative abilities. He did not shoot so many people in any of the trips around the country. For the master not only the age-old Muslim shrines, but also the seller of melons, and the clock at the palace, and the Bukharian official, and schoolchildren-the sights of this bright, motley edge. Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky died in the Russian House on September 27, 1944 and was buried in Russian cemetery in Saint-Genevieve-de-Bois. Prokudin-Gorsky's photographs are confirmed by the words of the French culturologist and art historian Roland Barth, who opposed the identification of photography with art, seeing in this encroachment on unique properties: "Photo-et literally an emanation photographed. From the real body that was there, the radiations that have reached me, me, that is here, have separated: no matter how long this transmission lasted; the photo of the disappeared creature touches me like the belated rays of an extinct star ... "This exhibition offers 40 photographs of Prokudin-Gorsky about Turkestan, 3 photographic magazines" Amateur Photographer ", publisher and editor of which was Prokudin-Gorsky, 10 Kodak posters , which also represented Prokudin-Gorsky for the consumer.