Cliffs on the Iurezan River near Ust-Katav
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), subsequently a link in the Trans-Siberian Railway. Seen here are a pair of railroad tracks located along a bend in the Iurezan’ River just to the west of Ust-Katav (in present-day Chelyabinsk Oblast). The Iuriuzan (as it is now spelled) is a left tributary of the Ufa River, which flows into the Kama-Volga River basin. On the other side of the river are weathered karst cliffs covered with conifer trees. The mottled appearance of the flowing water and wind-blown trees in the foreground was caused by the motion of these objects during the three separate exposures used by Prokudin-Gorskii in his photographic process. Prokudin-Gorskii often photographed landscapes both to document the local environment and the geographical diversity of the Russian Empire, and to demonstrate the richness of his color process and the range of his photographic technique. 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
Скалы на р. Юрезани у Усть-Катава
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