Dinner during Haying. Russian Empire


A major component of the Volga-Baltic Waterway (formerly called the Mariinsk Canal System), linking Saint Petersburg with the Volga River basin, is the Sheksna River, which drains the southeastern part of White Lake (Beloe ozero). The original length of the Sheksna was 395 kilometers, from White Lake to the Sheksna’s confluence with the Volga at the town of Rybinsk. Seen here is a group of peasants taking a midday break from raking hay. The two men look over the river, with their backs turned to the women. On the right are the remains of a campfire. In the background is the dredging machine Sheksna 1. This remarkable photograph clearly shows the existence of the archaic together with the modern in rural Russia. One of the color layers of the photograph was damaged, creating a gash that reveals the magenta layer. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s photographs date from about 1905, but the bulk of his work is from between 1909 and 1915, when, with the support of Tsar Nicholas II and the Ministry of Transportation, he undertook extended trips through many different parts of the empire. The location of this photograph in Prokudin-Gorskii’s album of contact prints suggests that the view is near the village of Leushino.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Обед на покосе. [Российская империя]

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 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: September 23, 2016