Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii is sometimes referred to as "the Photographer to the Tsar." Born in Murom, Vladimir Province, Russia (originally believed to be St. Petersburg) in 1863 and educated as a chemist, Prokudin-Gorskii devoted his career to the advancement of photography. Outfitted with a specially equipped railroad car darkroom provided by Tsar Nicholas II, and in possession of two permits that granted him access to restricted areas and cooperation from the empire's bureaucracy, Prokudin-Gorskii documented the Russian Empire around 1907 through 1915. He left Russia in 1918, going first to Norway and England before settling in France. By then, the tsar and his family had been murdered and the empire that Prokudin-Gorskii so carefully documented had been destroyed.
Prokudin-Gorskii took black-and-white photographs on glass plates. For this exhibition, the glass plates have been scanned and, through an innovative process known as digichromatography, brilliant color images have been produced. This exhibition features a sampling of Prokudin-Gorskii's historic images produced through the new process; the digital technology that makes these superior color prints possible; and celebrates the fact that for the first time many of these wonderful images are available to the public.
You can learn a lot more and view the photographs at http://www.loc.gov/exhibits/empire/gorskii.html.
My thanks to newsletter reader Janet Geronime for telling me about this great online collection.