Voyage dans l'ancienne Russie

  • Art
  • Photography
Critics' choice
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Tour de signal à Boukovo, photographie de Procoudine-Gorsky / © Procoudine-Gorsky/Bibliothèque du Congrès Washington
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Photographie de Procoudine-Gorsky / © Procoudine-Gorsky/Bibliothèque du Congrès Washington
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Photographie de Procoudine-Gorsky / © Procoudine-Gorsky/Bibliothèque du Congrès Washington
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Photographie de Procoudine-Gorsky / © Procoudine-Gorsky/Bibliothèque du Congrès Washington
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Photographie de Procoudine-Gorsky / © Procoudine-Gorsky/Bibliothèque du Congrès Washington
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Photographie de Procoudine-Gorsky / © Procoudine-Gorsky/Bibliothèque du Congrès Washington
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Photographie de Procoudine-Gorsky / © Procoudine-Gorsky/Bibliothèque du Congrès Washington

It’s at moments like this that we understand to what degree our image of the past remains instinctively linked to black and white imagery. Admiring photographs of Russia from before the Bolshevik revolution, 100 years after their creation, can only be done without colour, right? Wrong. The Musée Zadkine is showing snapshots taken by Sergueï Procoudine-Gorsky (1863-1944), dating from the period 1909-1916. The fields are green, the sky is blue, the sand yellow, and everything is bathed in a magnificent soft pink light of a springtime morning.

Pioneer of a process that rendered colour with precision using glass plates, the Russian photographer criss-crossed the Tsarist empire from the Urals to Samarkand, and from Volga to Siberia. He brought back thousands of images on glass, which were rescued by the congress library in Washington after the Soviet power grab. They have been miraculously restored today thanks to technology that allows these photographs, with their timeless grace, to remind us that, there were also spring mornings with pastel tones in the era of black and white.

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