Guard Dogs


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. Although the original caption does not specify the location shown in this image, evidence suggests that it was taken during a trip to mining areas north of Ekaterinburg in the fall of 1909. In the foreground are two laika guard dogs, a breed valued highly by hunters, including the photographer. The dilapidated log hut seen on the left may have been used to house the dogs. Beyond the poles of a wigwam is another log structure evidently used for storing dynamite and other explosive substances. The tin plaques visible on vertical poles indicate the type of explosive material. The yellow autumn leaves of the trees on the left appear as mottled colors here, due to a breeze that moved the leaves during the extended three-stage exposure Prokudin-Gorskii used during his photography process. 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

Сторожевые собаки

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