On the Sim River near the Asha-Balashovskii Station


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. In the summer of 1910 Prokudin-Gorskii traveled along the Samara-Zlatoust Railway (built in 1885–90; now the Ufa-Chelyabinsk line). This bucolic photograph was taken in the village of Asha, located on the Sim River near its confluence with the small Asha River in the western part of contemporary Chelyabinsk Oblast (near the border with the Republic of Bashkortostan). The nearby railroad station was originally called Asha-Balashovskaia because of its connection with the Balashovskii Factory, which produced cast iron. The factory was founded in 1898 by Nikolai and Ivan Balashov, who owned a number of factories in the Sim River area. Seen here on the left is a woman dressed in red, with pails of water from the river. Further in the background, a boy in a red shirt peers from the gate of a fence enclosing a compound with wooden sheds and a log house. 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

На р. Сим у ст. Аши-Балашовской

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 http://www.loc.gov/pictures/collection/prok/.

Last updated: September 28, 2016