In the early summer of 1910, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in Tver’ Province northwest of Moscow. Among the towns he visited was Zubtsov, the population of which in that year was 3,167. Located at the confluence of the Vazuza and Volga Rivers, Zubtsov is first referred to in medieval chronicles under the year 1216. In 1485, it was absorbed into Muscovy together with the Tver’ Principality. From the medieval period through the 19th century, Zubtsov was a regional market town particularly known for its flax products. Seen in this view northwest is the Church of the Trinity on the Vazuza side. It was razed in the 1930s. In the middle are the town’s trading rows, surrounded by other whitewashed brick buildings. Most of the center was destroyed during heavy fighting between Soviet and German forces in the spring and summer of 1942. Splotches of color on the wooden bridge over the Vazuza indicate the motion of horses during the time required for the photographer’s three-color exposure process. 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: January 13, 2017