White Squirrel. From the Collection of N.P. Alin in Cherdyn
This 1912 photograph shows a white squirrel from the large collection of stuffed animals belonging to Nikolai P. Alin, a wealthy merchant in the city of Cherdyn’. The picture is marred by a “ghost” effect caused by placing the camera close to the object. The three lenses necessary for the separation exposure were arranged in a vertical row. Therefore the angle of each lens to the object was slightly different, thus creating a triple image that is especially noticeable along the upper contours. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. Some of Prokudin-Gorskii’s 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 parts of the empire. From 1909 to 1912 he photographed extensively in the Ural Mountains region. Cherdyn’ became an important eastern outpost of Muscovy in the latter half of the 15th century. Its strategic significance waned at the end of the 16th century, but the town remained an important regional trading center. The collection formerly belonging to Alin is now in the Cherdyn’ Regional History Museum.
Title in Original Language
Белая белка. 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