Brown Iron Ore Excavated and Piled at the Same Mine


Originating in the southern Urals, the Chusovaya River flows some 590 kilometers to the northwest and empties into the Kama River near the city of Perm. The rocky, forested terrain along the Chusovaya is rich in minerals. Shown here is part of the laborious process for obtaining brown iron ore at the Shilov Mine, located seven kilometers from the village of Makareva on the Chusovaya in the vicinity of Ekaterinburg. The excavation site is in the foreground, and the rich iron-bearing rocks are piled in the center among pine and birch trees. The washed ore was transported to smelters via the river network. The image is by Russian photographer Sergei Mikhailovich Prokudin-Gorskii (1863–1944), who used a special color photography process to create a visual record of the Russian Empire in the early 20th century. 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. During his work Prokudin-Gorskii made several trips to 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 an expedition leading to western Siberia via the Kama-Tobol Waterway.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Добытая и сложенная в штабели руда бураго железняка на том-же руднике

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: July 9, 2015