General View of Simskii Plant
In 1909 and 1910, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled extensively in the territory around the Ural Mountains, where he photographed railroad installations, factories, urban settings, and natural landscapes. In the summer of 1910 he traveled along the Samara-Zlatoust Railroad (built in 1885–90; now the Ufa-Chelyabinsk line), including the Sim River valley. Seen here is a distant view from the north of the houses located at Simskii Zavod (Sim Ironworking Factory). The settlement arose in 1759–60 adjacent to an iron factory that relied primarily on serf labor. Burned by Bashkirs in 1774 during the Pugachev Rebellion (1773–75), the factory resumed operation by the end of the decade and expanded during the 19th century. Visible beyond the wooden houses is the white neoclassical form of the Church of Saint Dmitrii, completed in the late 18th century. The field in the foreground is dotted with haystacks. The deep ruts of the track running through the field suggests that the railroad was an important advance for this vast territory. 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
Общий вид Симскаго завода
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