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View Diary: America Before Pearl Harbor - Early Kodachrome Images (321 comments)

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  •  Actually, (9+ / 0-)

    I've put together some of the high-res three-image-per-plate Prokudin-Gorskii TIFFs in photoshop, and it doesn't take very much tweaking at all to get vibrant color out of them. It could be argued that it's really prettier color than color film stocks have been capable of producing, in the same way the 3-strip Technicolor process was (see The Wizard of Oz).

    P-G's framing sometimes leaves a little to be desired, and for a truly tasty image, one is forced to diddle around in each of the color channels touching up the crusty marks of 100 years' damage, but the color process itself is unassailable. It's pure magic when you slice up the original plate, lay it in color channels, line them all up with each other and turn them all on at a color explosion bursting out of these ugly, nondescript monochrome glass plate scans. I was addicted to it for a while, and did probably 15 of them.

    The funny thing about it is that I highly doubt his triple projector system worked that well for viewing the photos back then, and computers are allowing people to see what he saw when he took the photos for the very first time, I suspect. He had to manually slide those plates through the camera, and the alignment is way off on some of them. Perhaps the projector had some kind of cranks for alignment on the fly.

    Anyway, it's similar to getting a glimpse into ancient Egypt or something, seeing color images of a culture so far removed from anything we usually see on film.

    And these Kodachromes are superb too!

    -5.88, -6.00 When the ELGIs are defeated, the GWOT is over. -- Richard Clarke

    by Porfiry on Thu Dec 07, 2006 at 10:00:13 AM PST

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    •  I wish more of the photos were cleaned up (1+ / 0-)
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      The LoC's exhibit only displays about 50-60. The complete collection is here, which includes another 50-60 pictures that were also cleaned up but weren't displayed.

      However, there are nearly 2000 of these. I'd love to see more of these restored.

      And I read that Prokudin-Gorskii also took pictures of the Czar's family and many others that remain in the possession of his family.

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