Thursday, 22 November 2012


Nostalgia, The Russian Empire of Czar Nicholas II

After perusing the books that are waiting to be added to our photography library at Foam, I found something quite special.

'Nostalgia' - a voluminous collection of colour photographs depicting Czarist Russia mostly between 1909 and 1915.

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863-1944) was a chemist and photographer. Between 1909 and 1915 Prokudin-Gorskii took on a systematic journey to achieve his ultimate goal; to document all of Russia in colour photography. His life's work can be considered one of the earliest examples of travel photography.

Prokudin-Gorskii wasn't the first to use colour photography in his time, his greatest technical achievement in photography however was his ability to take colour photography out of the lab and into the field. He used colour-sensitive glass plates in order to achieve the luminous colours that we can still enjoy today.

It is really fascinating to dive into Russia's history and see it all in colour. An emir wearing a very turquoise robe, women in their traditional dresses, mosques in Samarkand decorated with tiles in rather exquisite patterns and colours. It really opened my eyes to a past long gone.

The book is on display in Foam's library, which can be visited upon appointment. Please contact

To consult the collection's database, please visit:

Tonsja Coronel


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