Vetluga Settlement. Tesma River, near 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 the metalworking center of Zlatoust, located in the Ai River valley to the west of Chelyabinsk. Seen in this photograph is the village of Vetluga on the Tes’ma River, which flows southwest into the Ai River and pond at Zlatoust. Vetluga was settled at the end of the 18th century by peasant serfs from the Vetluga district of Kostroma province. The serfs had been acquired by an entrepreneur from the central Russian ironworking center of Tula named Larion Ivanovich Luginin, owner of the Zlatoust factory. Visible on the left here is Kosotur Hill; Zlatoust lies on the other side. In the distance is Taganai Mountain. The Vetluga settlement seen here consists primarily of one-story wooden houses with high fences enclosing the adjacent yards. The wagon tracks visible in the sand indicate a ford across the shallow river. 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

Селение Ветлуга. Река Тесьма. Близ Златоуста

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