Russia, circa 1915

Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky, a photographer and chemist who pioneered in color photography, was commissioned by Czar St. Nicholas II of Russia in 1909 to spend 10 years traveling Russia, photographically documenting its geography and demography. Unfortunately, his mission, which he considered his life’s work, was cut short by the Bolshevik seizure of power in 1918. What he was able to complete, though, is a work of remarkable beauty. Below are just a few of the many photographs he took during his time traveling the Russian Empire, photographs of an empire that stretched over 1/6th of the earth and encompassed a wide diversity of peoples and places.

Trinity Monastery in the city of Tiumen

Alim Khan (1880-1944), emir of Bukhara

Iconostasis and miraculous icon in the orthodox church of the Nativity of the Virgin Mary in Smolensk

Turkmen camel driver

Russian children in the north of European Russia

Cathedral of St. Nicholas in Mozhaisk

See more at Wikimedia Commons…

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