View of the Kolva and Vishera Rivers. Cherdyn


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 to Cherdyn, located 310 kilometers north of the city of Perm. By the time this photograph was taken, Cherdyn, which was situated on the Kolva River, was a regional trade and administrative center. This view to the southeast was taken from the town water tower and shows several rows of wooden houses, some with four-sloped tin roofs. Attached to the houses are fenced yards with barns and sheds, as well as plots for vegetable gardens. The tidy yard in the foreground contains a shed with a red metal roof over stacks of firewood. Nearby, a carpet has been hung outside for airing. In the corner is a log bathhouse with a chimney. Visible at the lower right is the corner of a two-story log house, solidly built with a metal roof, a dormer window, and white window frames. In the center of the photograph there is a large two-story wooden house of more traditional design, with a (partially collapsed) barn extending behind the home. In the distant background the Kolva River flows into the Vishera River. 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

Вид на р. Колву и на р. Вишеру. Чердынь

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