Mink. 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 the regional center of 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 view of a mink, or norka (Mustela lutreola), perched on an arrangement of pine needles, earth, and leaves. The mink is a small mammal found throughout Russia and Eurasia. Because of the dark fur of the animal, this photograph was taken outside against the background of a white stuccoed wall. The display shows the mink in a lifelike pose, with mouth open and teeth bared. 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.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Норка. Из коллекции Н. П. Алина в Чердыни

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