This 1905 photograph was taken on the territory of Georgia in the Caucasus. It shows a stand of Moso bamboo (Phyllostachys pubescens) on a hillside near the village of Chakva. Native to China and Japan, bamboo can grow to be very large, as is seen here in the comparison with the man standing next to the trees. This area of southern Georgia, with its semitropical climate along the Black Sea near the Turkish border, was home to exotic floral varieties unknown elsewhere in the Russian Empire. Much of the southern Caucasus was taken by the Ottoman Empire in the first half of the 16th century. In the 19th century the Russian Empire expanded into this area, including the southern region of Adjara, which became known for its resort potential near the major port of Batumi. 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. Prokudin-Gorskii frequently photographed plants to demonstrate the ability of his photographic process to capture a range of colors.
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