William Carrick was a Scottish-Russian artist and photographer. The son of a timber merchant, Andrew Carrick, and Jessie née Lauder, he was born in Edinburgh on 23 December 1827. Only a few weeks old, the Carrick family took William with them to the port of Kronstadt in the Gulf of Finland. Andrew had been trading with this port for some time, and the family would stay there for 16 years.
In 1844, the family moved to Saint Petersburg, where William became a student at the Saint Petersburg Academy of Arts, studying architecture under the renowned Alexander Brullov. By 1853 he had completed his studies there, moving to Rome to undertake further studies. Although his family's business collapsed during the Crimean War, in 1856 William Carrick returned to Saint Petersburg to become a photographer. However, in the summer of the following year he departed for Edinburgh to gain more experience of photography. There he met the photographic technician John MacGregor.
In October, he returned to Russia, taking MacGregor with him in the aim of establishing a business and career. He opened a studio at 19 Malaya Morskaya Street, Saint Petersburg, making MacGregor his assistant.