Railroad Bridge under Construction over the Tobol River near Ialutorovsk (Taken Downriver)


In 1912, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) participated in an expedition along the Kama-Tobol waterway. He visited the town of Ialutorovsk (present-day Tyumen Oblast), founded in 1659 at the Tatar settlement of Iavlu-Tura. Located some 75 kilometers southeast of Tyumen, Ialutorovsk grew slowly as a local administrative center and place of political exile. When steamboat service came to the Tobol River in the early 20th century, development in the town quickened. In May 1912 a rail line reached Ialutorovsk from Tyumen as part of an alternative route on the Trans-Siberian Railway from Ekaterinburg to Omsk. This photograph shows the construction of the railroad bridge across the Tobol River. The height of the massive masonry piers allowed unobstructed steamboat passage. Completion of the bridge in 1913 provided direct access by rail to Ishim, midway between Tyumen and Omsk. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. He applied the technique of multiple exposures to create this photograph, causing the bridge work to appear blurry. 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.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Строющийся железнодорожн. мост через Тобол около г. Ялуторовска (снято снизу реки)

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: July 9, 2015