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1 Shiplord Kirel  May 27, 2015 3:23:29am

The film of the gallop past by the 21st Lancers is especially spooky. We are used to seeing this in historical re-enactments and movies. This is the real thing, by an operational cavalry unit, at a time when such charges were still considered a valid tactical possibility. The First World War, when machine guns brought this kind of thing to a bloody end, is just three years away.

2 Justanotherhuman  May 27, 2015 3:32:17am

Wonderful clarity in those stills. Have any been “retouched” or manipulated in any way, to your knowledge?

3 Decatur Deb  May 27, 2015 3:39:47am

Neat. A C-SPAN history lecture recently showed how the availability of cavalry in our Civil War was driven by the training cycle. It took much longer to field a good cavalry horse than a cavalryman. The horse also cost more than the soldier over their expected life-cycle.

4 Shiplord Kirel  May 27, 2015 3:40:52am

re: #2 Justanotherhuman

Wonderful clarity in those stills. Have any been “retouched” or manipulated in any way, to your knowledge?

Don’t know for sure, but many of the very early color photos seem to be remarkably stable. The process itself, which actually uses three separate monochrome images, is probably the reason for this and for the strikingly bright colors.
This is a more in-depth Boston Globe article on Prokudin-Gorskii and his photos. According to the article, these are reproduced as they were provided by the Library of Congress, which purchased the original glass plate negatives in 1948.

5 HappyWarrior  May 27, 2015 3:13:23pm

I’ve seen Prokudin-Gorsky.’s photos before. They really do remind us that WWI and that era really wasn’t so long ago. Color photography has a way of I think bringing past events and people closer to us than black and whtie photography does.

6 CleverToad  May 27, 2015 5:58:55pm

Wow. Just… wow. The clarity of the images is stunning. I hadn’t heard of Prokudin-Gorsky before — thank you for the addition to my knowledge of history! Several articles now bookmarked for further reading.

7 CuriousLurker  May 28, 2015 5:05:44am

I ran across Prokudin-Gorsky’s work a few years back and was enchanted by it—in fact, if you look at my individual tweets, you’ll notice that the photo used there is one of his (Alim Khan, emir of Bukhara).

You can find literally thousands of very high-resolution versions of his photos over at the Library of Congress. I’m talking about photos in .TIFF format that could be reproduced at poster size and still look good (most are between 10MB-40MB, the smaller ones being the b&w versions). Once there, you can refine your search, for example Prokudin-Gorskiĭ Bukhara.

Many of the photos I’ve posted/used over the years here at LGF are from the LOC, for example this gaucho, the photo of the caravan that’s used in the background of the header image on my Twitter profile page, and the photo of the woman floating in the water on my (long unused) WordPress blog.

Most of the LOC photos haven’t been adjusted or retouched, so you’d need access to something like Photoshop and knowledge of how to use it to make them look like the ones on Wikipedia (most of which have already been adjusted to a greater or lesser degree).

The LOC is a rich treasury of amazing digitized images (over 1 million), many (perhaps even most) of which are in the public domain:

Rights Information

Rights assessment is your responsibility.

As a publicly supported institution the Library generally does not own rights to material in its collections. Therefore, it does not charge permission fees for use of such material and cannot give or deny permission to publish or otherwise distribute material in its collections. It is the patron’s obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or otherwise distributing materials found in the Library’s collections.

The nature of historical archival collections means that copyright or other information about restrictions may be difficult or even impossible to determine. Whenever possible, the Library provides information about copyright owners and other restrictions in the catalog records or other texts that accompany collections. The Library provides such information as a service to aid patrons in determining the appropriate use of an item, but that determination ultimately rests with the patron. The Library of Congress is eager to hear from any copyright owners who are not properly identified so that appropriate information may be provided in the future.

For further information, see the Prints & Photographs Division “Rights and Restrictions Information” page. […]

Okay, sorry for writing a book—I didn’t intend to—it’s just that I love the LOC’s Digital Collections, which, BTW, also include audio-visual collections. It’s not always easy to find stuff unless you know precisely what you’re looking for, but nonetheless I’ve had great fun getting lost in there for hours (and sometimes even days) days at a time. ;-)

8 CuriousLurker  May 28, 2015 5:10:09am

re: #2 Justanotherhuman

Wonderful clarity in those stills. Have any been “retouched” or manipulated in any way, to your knowledge?

Yes, most have been color corrected, not sure about being retouched. See my comment above for a link to the original digitized versions at the LOC.


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