The photographer road trip is still a rite of passage today. But more than a century ago, Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky hit the road — or more accurately, the rails — to create a visual study of the Russian Empire that remains startling in its scope, depth, and sense of immediacy. A pioneering chemist and photographer who created an early method for developing pictures in color, Prokundin-Grosky got assistance from Tsar Nicholas II himself to take a groundbreaking trip across Russia from 1909 to 1915 in a railcar with a specially designed dark room. His mission was to document the far reaches of the Empire. Now, his photographs offer an invaluable glimpse of everyday life teetering on the edge of the Great War and the Russian Revolution. Prokundin-Grosky would've turned 155 on August 30 and is being celebrated in parts of the world today with a special Google Doodle. Here, a closer look at the images he captured. (Above: Peasant girls offering berries to visitors near the town of Kirillov, 1909.)Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images MADE OF IRON Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Images TEACHER AND PUPILS
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