In Photos: Remembering Karl Bulla, the Father of Photo-Reporting in Russia

February 26, 2014 /Photography News/  Born in Leobschütz in Prussia on February 26, 1855 (or 1853 -- his exact birth year is unclear), Carl Oswald Bulla was a prominent Russian photographer, often referred as the "father of photo-reporting in Russia".

In 1865 Bulla ran away from his family in Russia, to St. Petersburg, where 10 years later he opened his first photographic studio, and in 1886 he received the permit from the St. Petersburg Police allowing him to take pictures anywhere outside his studio and to become more involved into photography of city life.

At the end of the 19th century newspaper printing technology allowed the publishing of photographs. In 1894 Russian Department of Post and Telegraphs also allowed use of postcards. Both events significantly increased the demand for Bulla's images. At that time, his advertisment read: "The oldest photographer-illustrator Karl Bulla photographs for the illustrated magazines anything and anywhere without limits from the landscape or the building, indoor or outdoor day or night at the artificial light".

In 1916 Bulla passed the management of his firm "Bulla and sons" to his sons Alexander and Victor and moved to Ösel Island (currently Saaremaa, Estonia). He lived a quiet life there, photographing the local ethnographic material and teaching Estonian boys the basics of photography until his death in 1929.

In 1935 the son of Karl, Victor Bulla donated to the State Archive of Leningrad District 132,683 negatives of Bulla's photographs. The archive grew and now consists of more than 200,000 negatives of works by Karl Bulla and his sons. 

Left: Medical inspection (or medical study), 1900s. Right: Group with poles, 1900s                                                                                                                 

Left: 1900s. Right: Lunch in the kitchen for the poor, 1910

Left: Street scene. Right: Ukrainian/Russian aviators Igor Sikorsky,Genner, Kaulbars in the airplane "Russian Vityaz", 1915

Left: Self-portrait by Karl Bulla. Middle: Grigory Rasputin, Major General Putyatin and Colonel Lotman, 1904-1905. Right: Leonid Andreyev and his wife, Countess Anna Wielhorska, 1903

Left: Leo Tolstoy, 1902. Right: Vladimir Bekhterev

Left: Catastrophy of Egyptian Bridge in Saint Petersburg, February 2, 1905. Right: Apraksin Dvor on fire, July 3, 1914

Left: Former Deputies of Russian State Duma arrive to Vyborg to sign the Vyborg Manifesto, July 1906. Right: Photo taken in May 1912

Left: Trams ride on the ice of Newa river, Saint-Petersburg, end of 19th or just the beginning of 20tn century. Photo from the collection of Hermitage museum, cca. 1900. Right: Ilya Repin reads the news about Leo Tolstoy death. Present Korney Chukovsky and Nordman-Severova (Repin's wife). November 1910, Kuokkala

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