Ermine. Stuffed Animals from the Collection of N.P. Alin in 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. During his visit, the photographer viewed the large collection of stuffed animals belonging to Nikolai P. Alin, a wealthy merchant. Prokudin-Gorskii photographed a number of displays, including this pair of stoats—or ermines—with white winter fur. The animals, probably a male and a female, are placed on a piece of turf with sprouts of grass within a wooden display box. The photograph is marred by a “ghost” effect caused by placing the camera close to the object. The three lenses necessary for the separation exposure used by Prokudin-Gorskii were arranged in a vertical row. Therefore, the angle of each lens to the object was slightly different, creating a triple image that is especially noticeable along the upper contours of the animals. The Alin collection was subsequently transferred to the Cherdyn Regional History Museum. 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
Горностай. Чучела из коллекции Н. П. Алина в Чердыни
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