Detail of the Kivach Waterfall. Suna River


Recent research indicates that this photograph shows the Pog-Porog Waterfall on the Suna River, located in the Kondopoga region of Karelia (the original caption is incorrect). The several-second exposures required by the photographer’s equipment render the turbulent water as a white mass. On the far bank is a dense forest of fir, birch, and pine. A simple log cabin stands at the edge of a path from the forest, while the roof of another cabin is visible on the left. The jagged boulders of the rapids have trapped a number of felled logs, probably lost during the floating of the timber to mills downstream. 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 parts of the empire. In 1916, Prokudin-Gorskii photographed work on a project to connect by rail Saint Petersburg with the ice-free port of Murmansk, at the top of the Kola Peninsula. In addition to the railroad, Prokudin-Gorskii photographed the natural wonders of regions along its path, including the Suna River.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Деталь водопада Кивач. [Река Суна]

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: September 23, 2016