Kolva River from the Zemstvo Ferry on the Way from Cherdyn to the Village of Nyrob


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. His visit to the northern Urals in the summer of 1912 included a trip from the regional center of Cherdyn to the remote settlement of Nyrob. Seen here is a view of the Kolva River at the village of Kamgort. Attached to the eroded riverbank are crude wooden platforms that served as docks for a river ferry maintained by the local government (the zemstvo). The platforms are essentially rafts fastened to the bank with ropes, which could rise and fall along with the substantial seasonal variations in the river level. On the far right, the prow of a moored skiff is separated into several layered images due to the movement of the current during the extended three-stage exposure Prokudin-Gorskii used during his photography process. Visible upriver in the left distance are wooden houses at the village of Bigichi. Flowing 460 kilometers and passing through the Cherdyn region of Perm province, the Kolva River is a right tributary of the Vishera River, which in turn empties into the Kama River (in the Volga River basin). 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

Река Колва от земскаго перевоза по пути от Чердыни к селу Ныроб

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