Fisherman on the Iset’ River


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 idyllic view, photographed in 1909, shows a fisherman with a well-worn hat, ample white beard, and bare feet fishing with two lines on the Iset’ River near the settlement of Kamensk-Uralskii. Prokudin-Gorskii was himself an avid sportsman and likely admired the calm repose of the old man. On the far bank of the river is a massive outcropping of sedimentary rock (a karst formation typical of the Urals) with a birch tree growing on an eroded part of the rock in a patch of soil. The Iset’, whose name in the local Vogul language means “much fish,” originates from Lake Iset’ just to the northwest of Ekaterinburg and flows southeast some 600 kilometers to its confluence with the Tobol River, a tributary of the Irtysh River in western Siberia. 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.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Рыболов на р. Исети

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

Last updated: September 28, 2016