Ilimka Wharf, Where Twenty-Fathom Vessels Are Built. Shoals at Ilimka


Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944) worked extensively in the large territory around the Ural Mountains, where he photographed railroad installations and factories as well as picturesque locations. In 1912, he traveled along the Chusovaya River as part of a trip leading to western Siberia via the Kama–Tobolsk Waterway. This photograph shows the village of Ilimka, located on the left bank of the Ilim River, a tributary of the Chusovaya. The village contained a boat pier as well as a sawmill driven by the river, which made a steep drop (perebor) at this site. On the left, water is seen flowing from a wooden aqueduct. The village was known for producing riverboats known as kolomenki, which were 20 sazhens in length. The sazhen, an ancient Russian measurement, equals 2 meters. In the center is the wooden Trinity Church, built in 1833. Log houses are spread along the slope leading to the river. Today virtually nothing remains of the village. Prokudin-Gorskii used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire on the eve of the Russian Revolution. 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

Пристань Илимка. Место постройки двадцатисаженных коломенок. Илимский перебор

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 11, 2017