Colour is the Light – Colour Photographs from

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The world of black-and-white photography was invaded by colour. The old Saimaa Canal between Lappeenranta and Vyborg comes to life in Finland’s oldest colour photographs. The photographer is Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky (1863-1944), a pioneer in colour photography from Russia. His negatives transferred to the West after the Russian revolution include 40 colour photographs of the Grand Duchy of Finland. There are also more than one hundred photos of
fenno-ugric nations from the East. The original negatives are stored in the US Library of Congress.

Prokudin-Gorsky made his first photography trip from St. Petersburg to Finland in 1903, four years before the Lumière brothers in France invented the Autochrome colour film. Colour film was under development in several laboratories, but Prokudin expedited the process and conjured up natural colours on black-and-white film using a sensational technique. Geographical photography of the Russian Empire began in 1907, when Emperor Nicholas II provided Prokudin with a rail car and a cabin on a ship belonging to the Ministry of Waterways. Construction of the Murmansk railway through White Sea Karelia and Olonetsk Karelia regions was the last sight of photography in 1916. The fate of the most of the photo collection of Prokudin-Gorsky is unknown.

Photo: Berry-picking girls on the shores of Sheksna River, 1909. Valkeajärvi.

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Etelä-Karjalan Museo

Kristiinankatu 15
Lappeenranta

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Adults 8 €
Pensioners 7 €
Students 7 €

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