On May 8th, Dr. William Craft Brumfield presented “Journeys Through the Russian Empire: Photography and the Art of Survival.” This lecture presentation was part of the Russian History Museum’s Second Saturday lecture series.

The lecture ventures into the extraordinary convergences between Dr. Brumfield’s work and Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky’s photographs, which are now housed at the Library of Congress. Dr. Brumfield’s presentation considers connections to the fate of the Russian empire, uncovering photography’s ties to historical narrative, architectural heritage, resilience, and preservation. This program features an audience-interactive Q&A session. More on this topic can be found in Dr. Brumfield’s most recent publication, Journeys Through the Russian Empire: The Photographic Legacy of  Sergey Prokudin-Gorsky.

This program is funded in part by a Humanities New York CARES Grant with support from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the federal CARES Act.

About the Speaker

William Craft Brumfield is Professor of Slavic Studies at Tulane University. Brumfield, who began photographing Russia in 1970, is the foremost authority in the West on Russian architecture. He is the author, editor, and photographer of numerous books, including Architecture at the End of the Earth: Photographing the Russian North and Lost Russia: Photographing the Ruins of Russian Architecture, both also published by Duke University Press. Brumfield is the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and was a Fellow at the National Humanities Center. In 2002 he was elected to the State Russian Academy of Architecture and Construction Sciences, and in 2006 he was elected to the Russian Academy of Fine Arts. He is also the 2014 recipient of the D. S. Likhachev Prize for Outstanding Contributions to the Preservation of the Cultural Heritage of Russia. In 2019 he was awarded the Russian state Order of Friendship medal—the highest decoration of the Russian Federation given to foreign nationals—for his study and promotion of Russia’s cultural legacy. Brumfield’s photographs of Russian architecture have been exhibited at numerous galleries and museums and are part of the Image Collections at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC.  

Image credit: TRANSFIGURATION SOLOVETSKY MONASTERY, WEST PANORAMA IN SETTING SUN. Photograph by William Brumfield, July 25, 1998.