Russian American Exchange
One Hundred years ago, the great Russian photographer, Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin—Gorskii invented his own form of color photography and traveled the country making incredible color documents of landscapes, monuments, and people. For each scene in front of his camera, he took three pictures on glass plates, each one through a red, green, or blue filter. He then stacked the glass plates together to create a magical, color image.
In 2011, I had the honor of visiting Yekaterinburg and following in Prokudin-Gorskiy’s footsteps. Using digital photography, I photographed a scene and separated the image into red, green, and blue channels in Adobe PhotoShop. I then printed each of the three negatives onto watercolor paper with color pigments using the beautiful, handmade 19th century Gum Bichromate printing process. The final image possesses a slightly surreal, imperfect color, and my brushstrokes reveal the different colors that lie on top of each other to create the completed picture. I enjoy the imperfection of this handmade printing process, and I feel that artwork made by hand, reveals the hand of the artist. I also created handmade books illustrated with silver gelatin photographs.