In 1905 and again in 1912, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in the Caucasus region. Much of the southern Caucasus was absorbed into 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 Ach’ara and its port of Batumi. This area of southern Georgia, with its semitropical climate along the Black Sea near the Turkish border, was home to an exotic floral variety unknown elsewhere in Russia. The settlement of Chakva, to the north of Batumi, was especially known for its cultivation of new plant varieties. Seen in this image are rows of tall corn, at that time rarely grown in the main part of Russia. The rows are bordered by recently planted windmill palms. In the background is a stand of conifer trees. Prokudin-Gorskii frequently photographed plants to document the local environment and to demonstrate the richness of his color process and the range of his photographic technique. 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