Apple Trees in Bloom


In 1910, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) visited the province of Tver, an ancient city on the Volga River to the northwest of Moscow. This photograph taken in May shows gnarled apple trees in profuse bloom in the Ostashkov Region. Cultivated by the ancient Greeks, apple trees were introduced into Kievan Rus’ through monastery gardens in the mid-11th century and became Russia’s most common fruit-bearing trees, varieties of which extended even into the north in the 16th century. Prokudin-Gorskii frequently photographed plants not only as a way of defining the areas that he visited, but also as a demonstration of the range of possibilities in his color process. In the foreground is a freshly plowed land plot. The boundary formed by the trees is marked by a rustic fence of vertical branches. On the other side of the fence are log sheds and a grassy enclosure, perhaps used for livestock. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire. 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 different parts of the empire.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Яблони в цвету

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: October 3, 2016