In 1905, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in the Caucasus region. In 1912, Prokudin-Gorskii returned to photograph the dramatic landscape and ancient monuments of the mountainous interior of the Caucasus region, including the area around the Borjomi Gorge in present-day south-central Georgia. Prokudin-Gorskii also frequently photographed people dressed in national costumes, to illustrate the ethnic diversity of the Russian Empire. Seen in this image is a woman seated in an arbor. People of many ethnic groups live in Georgia, and the caption does not specify the ethnic identity of this woman. The understated but elaborate details of her dress suggest that she is of noble status. Indicating that she is married, her hair is covered by a flat headdress with embroidered details. Extending from the headdress is a gauzy embroidered veil. The long black dress (probably made of fine wool) contrasts with the brilliant, brightly colored stitchwork floral pattern. The landscape in the background is hazy with summer heat. 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: October 7, 2016