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Miracles of Photography
Recreating the photographic heritage of Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky

12 April - 15 June 2003
The Mikhailovsky Palace, Garden vestibule

Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorsky was born in Saint Petersburg in 1863. Having got perfect education as a chemist in Russia and abroad he devoted all his life to photography. His research in this field brought him several patents on production of colour transparencies and colour film projection. At the beginning of the 20th century Prokudin-Gorsky worked out a daring plan to make a photographic overview of the Russian Empire, which was supported by Nicholas II. Travelling by a train fitted out with special equipment and a darkened room, also having a permission guarantying him access to restricted areas, he visited eleven regions of Russia. Photographs taken by Prokudin-Gorsky give us a vivid picture of the bygone days - the Russian Empire on the eve of WWI and impending revolution. The mastery of the photographer and his thought out methods are still remarkable in their laconic accomplishment. Alongside his professional work Prokudin-Gorsky carried out extensive educational activities. His ultimate goal was to acquaint Russian schoolchildren with the enormous and diverse history and culture of the epoch of modernization of Russia through 'optical colour projections'. In 1919, after the revolution, Prokudin-Gorsky left Russia for good to reside in Paris where he died in 1944.Unique works of the master of photography were sold by his heirs to the Library of Congress in 1948. The current exhibition has the same name with the last exhibition of the photographer, which took place in the Nikolaevsky Hall of the Winter Palace in 1918. The display presents images in the form of colour photographs made by means of modern leading technologies. The exhibition of photographs by Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky was prepared by the members of the Library of Congress of the USA