Group of Camels and Four Men Posed in Front of Piles of Sacks, Logs in Foreground


This photograph shows camels and drivers transporting large sacks of cotton at the estate of Grand Duke Nicholas Konstantinovich (1850-1918), grandson of Tsar Nicholas I, in Golodnaia Steppe (“Hungry Steppe”), located in present-day Uzbekistan. The drivers wear high sheepskin hats and colorful padded robes. The camels rest next to a small-railed track. Visible in the background are piles of sacks awaiting delivery to the cotton gin. 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. Prokudin-Gorskii was particularly interested in recently acquired territories of the Russian Empire such as Turkestan, which he visited on a number of occasions, including two trips in 1911. Turkestan appealed to him not only for its Islamic architecture but also for the transformation brought by Russian settlement. Large parts of Turkestan were suitable for the raising of high quality cotton, and cotton production rapidly became a priority in the Russian development of this area.

Date Created

Subject Date

Title in Original Language

Верблюды и четыре человека перед грудой мешков, на переднем плане бревна

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: September 30, 2016