Vyg Lake before the Waterfall
The Murmansk Railroad was built by the Russian government during World War I to connect Petrograd (Saint Petersburg) to the ice-free port of Romanov-on-Murman (now Murmansk). Construction lasted from 1914 to the spring of 1917 when the line was completed. Among the natural features near this route was the Lower (Nizhnii) Vyg River, which flows 102 kilometers from Lake Vygozero in Karelia to the Onega Bay of the White Sea. Seen here are the Sosnovets Rapids, whose granite boulders have trapped cut timber (primarily pine logs) on the way to a sawmill downriver. The man seated on one of the logs wears the overcoat of a Ministry of Transportation official. On either side of the river is a dense coniferous forest. Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) applied the technique of multiple exposures to create this photograph, causing the flow of water in the near rapids to appear as a blurred white mass. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of his 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. Support for his work was renewed during the First World War. In 1916, he was commissioned to photograph this new railroad project; he also photographed scenes in the regions along the route.
Title in Original Language
Выгозеро перед водопадом
Type of Item
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