Scene in the Town of Zlatoust
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 September 1909 was Zlatoust, located in the Ai River valley to the west of Chelyabinsk. Named in honor of Saint John Chrysostom (“golden-tongued,” or zlatoust), the town was founded in 1754 and became a center of finished metal production, including armaments. By 1913, the population of the town was 19,000. This photograph shows an unpaved street fronted by the log houses of workers, with wooden footbridges spanning a drainage ditch. Each house has a wooden gate leading to a yard. Rock slabs, probably for construction purposes, are stacked in front of the house on the left. Because of the long exposure time Prokudin-Gorskii used in his three-color photography process, moving objects—such as the chickens seen on the left and the figures in the distance—appear as multicolored blots. In the background of this shot is Kosotur Hill, while the factory in the town is out of view to the right. 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 в г. Златоусте
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