Victor Bulla, son of the famous official photographer of the Russian Tsar Court Karl Bulla, was born in 1883, graduated from the exclusive private "English School" in St. Petersburg in 1899 and received extensive photographic training in Germany. After his return to Russia, Victor and his brother Alexander joined Karl's family's photographic agency, which held exclusive rights to produce official photographs of the Tsar's Court, government and military activities.
Victor received independent recognition as a photographic reporter during the Russian-Japanese war 1904-05, when, as the 19-years old ensign, he became military photographer with the Siberian Reserve Brigade. He participated in the battle of the Dalin Pass and Mukden, actions at Erdagou, Zunio, Sandepu, Lanafan, Putilov Hill, in General Mishchenko’s raid and other key events of the war. Victor's front-line reports were extensively published in the most popular illustrated magazines "Niva" (The Field), "Iskry" (Sparks) and major Russian newspapers and reprinted all over the world. Victor frequently took the duties of the medical assistant on the battlefield, and for his actions was later awarded by Silver Medal "For Courage" on the St. George's ribbon.
Together with his brother Alexander he participated in various photographic exhibitions, but with his Catholic and Estonian heritage. émigré father and close connections with prominent political figures of the ancien régime, he became more and more considered as undesirable and by 1935 was forced to transfer the most part of the family's photographic archives (more than 132 500 negatives, with later additions 200 000 in total) to the government archives.
However this surrender of the Bulla's family priceless photographic treasures didn't help him to evade repressions of the 1930s. Victor Bulla was arrested on June 23 1938 on false accusations, made to confess in espionage against USSR under torture and was shot in October 1938. His name was erased from all official sources and his pictures of Revolution and Soviet leaders Lenin, Zinovyev, Kamenev, Stalin, and others, were continued to be published without any reference to his name up to Gorbachev's Perestroika in the second half of 1980s.
After the beginning of World War I, Bulla returned to work in his father's photo agency shooting numerous events of 1917-1918, including the documentary film on the February Revolution of 1917, the "Chronicle of the revolution in
Petrograd." Bulla then photographed the events of the
October 1917 uprising and directed the photography of the Petrograd
in 1928 Bulla and his brother submitted 30 photographs to the exhibition "Soviet Photograhy over 10 years," where he was awarded with an honorary diploma. In 1939, Bulla was arrested following a denunication from an employee of the Bulla photo agency. He was accused of being an 'Enemy of the people,' and was exiled to the
where he died in 1938.