Rhododendron in an Old Chinar Tree. In Makhindzhauri


In 1905 and again in 1912, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in the Caucasus region. He was particularly interested in exploring the southern part of Georgia near the Turkish border. Much of the southern Caucasus was absorbed into the Ottoman Empire in the early 16th century. In the 19th century this semitropical area witnessed expansion by the Russian Empire, which took the territory of Ach’ara from the Ottomans in 1878. By the 20th century the region near the major port of Batumi became known for its resort potential. In March 1912 Prokudin-Gorskii visited Makhinjauri, a Black Sea resort in Ach’ara. Seen here is a blooming rhododendron growing from the hollow of an ancient plane tree. Prokudin-Gorskii often photographed local flora to record the environment and to demonstrate the range of his photographic technique. The emulsion surfaces of the glass negatives for this photograph show extensive damage. 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

Рододендрон в старом чинаре. В Махинджаури

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