Seen here is an autumn vista of a picturesque site known as Chertovo Gorodishche (Devil’s Fort) near Ekaterinburg, the major city in this region of the Ural Mountains. Formed by a massive outcropping of sedimentary rock eroded into unusual shapes, the site was largely inaccessible because until the construction of a railroad through this part of the Urals in the early 1880s. On the line to the northwest of Ekaterinburg is the Iset’ Station (after the Iset’ River) near Tolstikha Mountain, beyond which is Chertovo Gorodishche. This view shows rock towers rising above the forest, with two pines growing from one of the rock levels. 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 1909 and 1910 he photographed extensively in the Ural Mountains region. Although Prokudin-Gorskii is best known for his photographs of people and historic buildings, he also documented striking geographical features.
Title in Original Language
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