In 1905 Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in the Caucasus region. In the spring of 1912 he returned to Georgia, where he photographed the landscape and architecture found in the mountainous interior as well as resorts along the Black Sea coast. Of special interest to him was the southern region of Ach’ara and its port city of Batumi near the Turkish border. Conquered by the Ottomans in 1547, Batumi was taken in 1878 by Russian and Georgian forces during the Russo-Turkish War (1877–78). The city became part of the Russian Empire following the Treaty of San Stefano and served as a duty-free port as well as a favored resort on the Black Sea. With its semitropical climate, Batumi was home to a variety of exotic flora unknown elsewhere in Russia. Seen here is a vine of white wisteria growing around a tree trunk in a Batumi park. Wisteria forms a genus within the legume family of plants. The wisteria plant flowers in pendulous racemes, clearly visible here on the right. 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
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