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The introduction contains an overview of William Brumfield’s journeys throughout the Russian North, a territory broadly defined by the regions around the White Sea in the northwestern part of the Russian Federation. After an exposition of the significance of this territory for Russian history and traditional culture, the essay develops a number of episodes in Brumfield’s exploration and field photography in the various provinces of the North. The research and photographic fieldwork is part of a larger project undertaken by Brumfield to document photographically all aspects of Russian architecture. The project has at various stages received support from the Library of Congress, and the basic collection of Brumfield’s images is held in the Department of Image Collections at the National Gallery of Art. Regions explored in the introductory essay include Arkhangelsk Province, Vologda Province, the Republic of Karelia, and the southern coast of the Kola Peninsula in Murmansk Province.

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