Balamut. Batum


This balamut (a fish related to the mackerel) was photographed at the port of Batumi on the Black Sea. In the 19th century the Russian Empire expanded into this area, particularly after the conclusion of the Caucasus War in 1864. Batumi was the major city in the southern region of Adjara, near the Turkish border. By the beginning of the 20th century, it was also known as a resort destination. 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. In addition to people and places, Prokudin-Gorskii recorded regional flora and fauna, in part to demonstrate the versatility of his photographic method. In 1905 and again in 1910 he traveled in the Caucasus, including the territory of Georgia and the Black Sea coast.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Баламут. Батум

Additional Subjects

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

Last updated: September 28, 2016