Everything in this photograph is slightly at an angle, pulling away from the central axis of the image. The domes atop the buildings appear animated, and the delicate outlines of the crosses atop the domes seem to reverberate with energy like whirligigs. The domes in the foreground echo in close-up the details of the dense cluster of church rooftops at a distance. The arched windows at lower left are repeated throughout the cityscape visible in the distance at the image's center.
In the fall of 1852, Roger Fenton, who had only taken up photography a few months before, traveled to Russia with an engineer friend who was constructing a bridge across the Dnieper River near Kiev. Fenton went along to photograph the bridge's construction, but he returned with an extensive series of what are now believed to be the first photographs of Moscow and the Kremlin.