early camera

Photographer Karl Bulla in his studio

Petersburg, early 1900s

Bulla's photographs constitute a rich source of material on everyday life in fin-de-siecle Petersburg. Bulla had three studios in Petersburg--on Sadovaya, Nevsky Prospekt, and Ekaterininsky Kanal (now Kanal Griboedova).


14 Nevsky Prospekt (note studio "Photographie Westly" on the second floor)

Photograph by Karl Bulla, early 1900s

As historian of photography Beaumont Newhall writes, "the perfection of gelatin emulsion not only led to the conquest, analysis, and synthesis of action, but it brought about standardization of materials and the scientific investigation of the photographic process." It was not lost on early Soviet filmmakers that the principle material of film emulsion was gelatin--a slaughterhouse by-product obtained from the bones, skin, and sinews of cattle. In addition to integrating footage of cow-slaughter in their films, filmmakers Dziga Vertov and Sergei Eisenstein were conspicuous advancers of the art of montage, consciously affiliating Modernism's tools of dislocation, juxtaposition, and montage with slaughter in their work.

Return to "Beyond the Abattoir"