Near the Viazovaia Station of the Samara-Zlatoust Railway, September 12, 1909
The caption for this photograph, taken near the railway station at Viazovaia (present-day Chelyabinsk Oblast), has a precise date: September 12, 1909. The photographer would have used the old-style Julian calendar (13 days behind the Western calendar). Therefore the actual date would have been near the end of September. The landscape is covered in snow, the effects of a sudden storm that could occur in early autumn in this mountainous region. Viazovaia is located on what was then called the Samara-Zlatoust Railroad (now the Ufa-Chelyabinsk line). Completed in 1890, the station became the junction of a spur built in 1905 to the factory town of Katav-Ivanovsk, 37 kilometers to the southwest. Weathered log barns, sheds, and a large haystack are seen against the background of the Iuriuzan’ River, bounded by cliffs and forested hills. 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. Prokudin-Gorskii worked extensively in the Ural Mountains, where he photographed railroad installations and factories.
Title in Original Language
Близ станции Вязовая, Самар-Златоуст. ж. д. 12-го сентября 1909 г.
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