Born in Moscow in 1953, Sergei Petrov graduated from the elite Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology. His professional photographic career started in 1978 when Sergei left his position as a researcher in the Soviet defense industry and began working for leading Russian publishing houses. He photographed sculpture and paintings in the Tretyakov Gallery in Moscow and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg.
In 1981 Sergei Petrov became a dissident, first coming to international attention in 1982 when he spent 50 days on a hunger strike trying to win permission to emigrate. While unable to leave the Soviet Union, Sergei completed a number of assignments for western magazines including Architectural Digest, Discover, New York Times Magazine, and Le Figaro. His photo journalistic work, critical of the old Soviet regime, appeared in The Washington Post and The New York Times. His image Lady on the Red Square became the symbol of a stagnant Soviet regime and was featured on NBC’s Today show and in many magazines and newspapers.
In 1988 an “in absentia” exhibition of his work was opened at the State Department in Washington DC by former US Secretary of State George Shultz. The following year Sergei was finally permitted to leave the Soviet Union, the culmination of years of sustained pressure from the US Government and, in particular, President Reagan and the US Ambassador to Moscow Arthur Hartman and his wife Donna.
His art was featured in American Photographer and The Washington Post Magazine. In 1991 The Corcoran Gallery of Art purchased his work.
Currently Sergei lives and works on Pender Island in British Columbia, Canada. He continues to pursue his passion for art along with his other interests in information technology and woodworking.