Armenian Women (Catholics) in Customary Dress. Artvin


Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) was a pioneer in the development of color photography. In the early 1900s, he formulated an ambitious plan to carry out a photographic survey of the Russian Empire. After gaining the support of Tsar Nicholas II, between 1909 and 1915 he completed surveys of 11 regions, traveling in a specially equipped railroad car provided by the Ministry of Transportation. This photograph, taken in the town of Artvin (the Black Sea region, in present-day Turkey), depicts two Armenian women dressed in everyday clothes. Traditionally, women in this community made their clothes themselves, handing down their skills in embroidery and lace making from mother to daughter. Expected to be modest and virtuous, women wore long dresses with an apron, and covered their head with a kerchief. Artvin is located in a narrow gorge, with the houses vertically attached to the slopes, and is surrounded by fruit orchards and olive groves. In the early 1900s, most of the town’s population were Armenian Catholics.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Армянки (Католички) в обычном костюме

Additional Subjects

Type of Item

Physical Description

Glass negative (presented as a digital color composite)


  • Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographic work survives primarily in two forms: 1,901 black-and-white triple-frame glass plate negatives, made with color separation filters, which Prokudin-Gorskii used to make color prints and lantern slides; and 12 albums of sepia-tone prints, made from the glass negatives, which Prokudin-Gorskii compiled as a record of his travels and studies. The Library of Congress purchased the glass plate negatives and the albums from the Prokudin-Gorskii family in 1948. In 2004, the Library of Congress had digital color composites made from all the surviving glass negatives using a software algorithm to automatically align the color components. As with most historical photographs, title and subject identifications are corrected and enhanced through new research. Current information on the collection is at

Last updated: November 7, 2017