View from Chertovo Gorodishche
From 1909 to 1912, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) made several trips to the territory around the Ural Mountains, where he photographed railroad installations, factories, urban settings, and natural scenes. Although Prokudin-Gorskii is best-known for his photographs of people and historic buildings, he also took photos of striking geographical features. This vista of the Ural Mountains was taken at the top of a picturesque site known as Chertovo Gorodishche (Devil’s Fort) in the region of Ekaterinburg, the major city in the area (named Sverdlovsk 1924–91). Formed by a massive outcropping of sedimentary rock eroded into unusual shapes, the site was largely inaccessible because of difficult terrain until the construction of a railroad through this part of the Urals in the early 1880s. The nearest rail point is the Iset’ Station (northwest of Ekaterinburg) near the Iset’ River and Tolstikha Mountain, beyond which is Chertovo Gorodishche. The dense forest cover seen in this photograph includes birch and aspen trees, as well as larch, pine, and other conifers. 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.
Title in Original Language
Вид с Чертова Городища
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 28, 2016