Rapid Sosnovets on the Onda River


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 Ugolnyi (“coal”) Rapids on the small Soroka River, an arm of the Lower Vyg River near its exit to the White Sea. In the foreground a boy sits in a rowboat near the fishing village of Soroka (now Belomorsk), from which the view was taken. On the far bank is Sorokskaia Bay Station, marked by a flagpole. To the left of the flagpole, freight cars stand on a siding, while on the right are rows of tethered horses, probably cavalry mounts awaiting rail transport. A solitary figure stands on the scoured granite bank of the opposite shore. Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) applied the technique of multiple exposures to create this photograph, causing much of the surface of the water to appear as a blurred white mass, and a yellow trail to appear behind the figure on the opposite shore. 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, and in 1916 he was commissioned to photograph this new railroad project; he also photographed scenes in the regions along the route.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Порог Сосновец на р. Онде

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