Guelder Rose in Bloom


In the summer of 1910, Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) traveled and photographed extensively in Tver’ Province northwest of Moscow, including in the town of Staritsa, located near the confluence of the Staritsa River with the Volga. This photograph of a kalina tree in bloom was apparently taken in the Staritsa area. The kalina, more widely known as viburnum, is a type of bush or small tree that is found throughout the northern hemisphere and that produces bright red berries. It is especially well known in Russia, where it appears in popular culture, such as in the film Kalina Krasnaia (1974), based on a story by Vasilii Shukshin. The berries of some varieties are mildly poisonous, but others can be prepared for consumption. The berries are also used in folk medicine. Prokudin-Gorskii photographed plants not only as a way of defining the areas that he visited, but also as a demonstration of the range of his color process. Sharp with detail in the center, the photograph is softly focused on the edges. 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

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Калина 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: January 13, 2017