View of the Miass River in Chelyabinsk
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. Among the towns Prokudin-Gorskii visited in 1909 was Chelyabinsk, founded in the fall of 1736 on the Miass River as part of a chain of forts used to protect supply lines from the granaries of western Siberia to the new Orenburg territory on the southern frontier of Russia. Although situated in a region rich in natural resources, Chelyabinsk remained a local market town until the construction of the Trans-Siberian Railway in the 1890s. By 1909 Chelyabinsk had become a major rail junction in the southern Urals and a gateway to the east. In 1913, its population had surged to 65,000. This view, taken from a bridge over the Miass River, portrays a sprawling provincial town nestled in the foothills of the southern Urals. The streaks on the surface of the river were caused by the motion of the water and its reflection during the long exposure time used by the photographer. 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 на р. Миасс в Челябинске
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