Saturday, July 25, 2020

Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky - pioneer Russian photographer

Photo shows the Emir of Bukhara, Alim Khan (1880-1944), p
osing solemnly for his portrait, taken in 1911 shortly after his accession.

Wiki:  Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky August 30 [O.S. August 18] 1863 – September 27, 1944) was a Russian chemist and photographer. He is best known for his pioneering work in colour photography and his effort to document early 20th-century Russia.

Using a railroad-car darkroom provided by Tsar Nicholas II, Prokudin-Gorsky traveled the Russian Empire from around 1909 to 1915 using his three-image colour photography to record its many aspects. While some of his negatives were lost, the majority ended up in the U.S. Library of Congress after his death. Starting in 2000, the negatives were digitised and the colour triples for each subject digitally combined to produce hundreds of high-quality colour images of century-ago Russia.

The Library of Congress collection of Prokudin-Gorsky photographs is here. Enjoy!

Friday, July 03, 2020

Melancholy reflections

From this:

America, however, is an utter disaster. Texas, Florida, and Arizona are the newest hubs of contagion, having apparently learned nothing from the other countries and states that previously experienced surges in cases. I stared at my phone in disbelief when the musician Rosanne Cash wrote on Twitter that her daughter had been called a “liberal pussy!” in Nashville for wearing a mask to buy groceries.

Using masks to curb the propagation of an airborne virus that makes some people very sick and kills others is not seen as a simple obligation arising from being part of a society.

It is almost as though the demands of being ethical are considered to be a trespass upon freedom.

Which leads to the question - is freedom a means to an end, namely to lead an ethical life and live per one’s conscience; or is freedom an end in itself, and any kind of duty or obligation, no matter how necessary from an ethical perspective, is an encroachment on that freedom?