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Sergey Mikhaylovich Prokudin-Gorsky was a Russian chemist and photographer, best known for his pioneering work in color photography during the early 20th century. His priceless color photographs documenting the waning days of the Russian Empire before the First World War and the Russian Revolution are today some of the most prized possession of the United States Library of Congress.

In the beginning of the 20th century, color photography was still in its infancy. It was the German photochemist Adolf Miethe, with whom Prokudin-Gorsky studied briefly the techniques, who greatly improved the three-color principle of color photography. Using a specialized camera developed by Adolf Miethe, Prokudin-Gorsky took three black and white images in quick succession, using red, green and blue filters, which were later recombined and projected with filtered lanterns to show near true color images. Because exposure time was often high and the three color-filtered photographs were not taken at the same time, subjects that did not hold steady during the entire operation exhibited colored fringes around its edges in the resulting color image. Such fringes are characteristics of many Prokudin-Gorsky's photographs.

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The Emir of Bukhara, Alim Khan (1880-1944), poses for his portrait, taken in 1911 shortly after his accession. As ruler of an autonomous city-state in Islamic Central Asia, the Emir presided over the internal affairs of his emirate as absolute monarch, although since the mid-1800s Bukhara had been a vassal state of the Russian Empire. With the establishment of Soviet power in Bukhara in 1920, the Emir fled to Afghanistan where he died in 1944.

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