Looking back on old photography is always an interesting adventure. It’s a window into a past life that can otherwise be difficult to imagine. That being said, there has always been a bit of an “uncanny valley” in black and white photography. You get a lot of the feeling of the photo, but without the color it’s difficult to immerse yourself in the image. That’s why I was truly mesmerized when I saw this grouping of COLOR photographs posted on PetaPixel dating to around 1905 by Sergey Produkin-Gorsky. Yes, you heard that right. Color photos. These photos were not colorized later, they were taken in color.
The images were produced by taking 3 seperate exposures . Each one using either a red, green, or blue filter over the lens. Then those resulting monochrome images were projected through red green and blue filters onto a screen where the images could be printed in their full color glory. The amount of technical skill involved in doing something like this with the limited technology that was available in the early 1900s is absolutely staggering. Think about the amount of exposure time, and the necessity to make sure nothing in the frame moves throughout the entire production of the image. Staggeringly good work.