by William Craft Brumfield
Published by: Duke University Press Books
This large-format book, 520 pages in length, contains some 400 stunning full-colour images of ancient churches, towns, and landscapes taken by two great explorers, who have preserved so much of Russian culture through their photography." ~Anna Sorokina, Russian beyond the Headlines
READ THE INTRODUCTION
Sample (look inside the book)
Between 1903 and 1916 Prokudin-Gorsky, who developed a pioneering method of capturing colour images on glass plates, scoured the Russian Empire with the patronage of Nicholas II.
In 1918 Prokudin-Gorsky escaped an increasingly chaotic, violent Russia and regained nearly 2,000 of his bulky glass negatives. His subsequent peripatetic existence before settling in Paris makes his collection's survival all the more miraculous.
The U.S. Library of Congress acquired Prokudin-Gorsky's collection in 1948, and since then it has become a touchstone for understanding pre-revolutionary Russia. Now digitized and publicly available, his images are a sensation in Russia, where people visit websites dedicated to them.
William Craft Brumfield—photographer, scholar, and the leading authority on Russian architecture in the West—began working with Prokudin-Gorsky's photographs in 1985
In Journeys through the Russian Empire, Brumfield—who has spent decades traversing Russia and photographing buildings and landscapes in their various stages of disintegration or restoration—juxtaposes Prokudin-Gorsky's images against those he took of the same buildings and areas. In examining the intersections between his own photography and that of Prokudin-Gorsky, Brumfield assesses the state of preservation of Russia's architectural heritage and calls into question the nostalgic assumptions of those who see Prokudin-Gorsky's images as the recovery of the lost past of an idyllic, pre-Soviet Russia.
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