10 colorized photos from Imperial Russia you should check out

Source: Unknown author/МАММ/https://russiainphoto.ru
The people of pre-revolutionary Russia craved color - black and white was not enough. So artists developed a way to paint straight onto photos. Eat your heart out Instagram.

Source: Sergey Livitsky/МАММ/<a  data-cke-saved-href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" target="_blank"> russiainphoto.ru</a>  Source: Sergey Livitsky/МАММ/ russiainphoto.ru

In the second half of the 19th century people had no alternative to black and white photos, but craved color!

A bridge over Polevaya river near Kursk. Source: Unknown author/МАММ/<a  data-cke-saved-href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" target="_blank"> russiainphoto.ru</a>  A bridge over Polevaya river near Kursk. Source: Unknown author/МАММ/ russiainphoto.ru

Unfortunately, the world would have to wait a little longer for color photography, so portrait painting remained one of the only ways to convey people vibrantly. However, it didn’t come cheap and only the well-heeled could afford it.

Source: Unknown author/МАММ/MHP, Y. Rybchinsky and E. Gladkov Fund/<a  data-cke-saved-href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" target="_blank"> russiainphoto.ru</a>  Source: Unknown author/МАММ/MHP, Y. Rybchinsky and E. Gladkov Fund/ russiainphoto.ru

Eventually, photo ateliers developed the methods to colorize black and white photos in the second half of the 19th century - and it was soon in demand.

1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya st. in Moscow. Source: Unknown author/МАММ/<a  data-cke-saved-href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" target="_blank"> russiainphoto.ru</a>  1st Tverskaya-Yamskaya st. in Moscow. Source: Unknown author/МАММ/ russiainphoto.ru

It was a job for professional artists, who painted color onto black and white images with a brush. A colorized photo back then was therefore a peculiar mix of photography and painting.

Source: Unknown author/МАММ/<a  data-cke-saved-href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" target="_blank"> russiainphoto.ru</a>  Source: Unknown author/МАММ/ russiainphoto.ru

The whole photo could be colorized, or just parts: The face, body, hats, epaulets, shirts, dress, interior decorations, or background, for example.

Source: Ivan Barshchevsky/Murom History and art Museum/<a  data-cke-saved-href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" target="_blank"> russiainphoto.ru</a>  Source: Ivan Barshchevsky/Murom History and art Museum/ russiainphoto.ru

One advantage of this technique was that the client could choose exactly what color they wanted their clothes to be. Even the most boring photo could shine! Luckily, fake tans weren’t too popular back then.

Source: Unknown author/МАММ/<a  data-cke-saved-href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" target="_blank"> russiainphoto.ru</a>  Source: Unknown author/МАММ/ russiainphoto.ru

If a client wanted to iron out certain facial features, such as scars, spots, and pockmarks - no problem, just like an Instagram filter.

Source: Alexandr Eichenwald/МАММ/<a  data-cke-saved-href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" target="_blank"> russiainphoto.ru</a>  Source: Alexandr Eichenwald/МАММ/ russiainphoto.ru

Russians loved colorized photographs. They were treasured as much as traditional miniature portraits that were widely popular in the 19th century.

Source: Unknown author/МАММ/<a  data-cke-saved-href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" target="_blank"> russiainphoto.ru</a>  Source: Unknown author/МАММ/ russiainphoto.ru

With the development of color photographs in the 20th century, the tradition of colorizing photos started to fade.

Source: Jozef Brezanov/МАММ/<a  data-cke-saved-href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" href="https://russiainphoto.ru/" target="_blank"> russiainphoto.ru</a>  Source: Jozef Brezanov/МАММ/ russiainphoto.ru

Despite some people colorizing photos during the Soviet period, the glory days for the method were up.

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