Camera Ottomana. Photography and Modernity in the Ottoman Empire 1840-1914 is an exhibition held at Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (RCAC), Istanbul, Turkey.
It presents a fascinating collection of 19th century portraits and photographers active in Istanbul and the Ottoman Empire, to include a wide selection of Greek photographers and studios such as: Vasilaki Kargopoulo, Dimitri Michailidis, Manaki Brothers and others.
All content and photographs below © Koç University 2015. All Rights Reserved.
The first professional studio in Istanbul was opened in 1845 by Carlo and Giovanni Naya, two brothers of Italian origin. They were followed by other foreigners who settled in Pera and specialized in portrait photography. Prominent among them were the German Abresche, the Italian Maggi, the French Astras and de Caranza, and the British Robertson. The last two photographed the Crimean War in the mid-1850s and played an important role in the history of Ottoman photography by presenting their work at the Paris and London World Expositions. The first Ottoman subjects to open studios in the capital were Vasilaki Kargopoulo in 1850, Pascal Sébah in 1857, and Viçen (Vincent) Abdullah in 1858. From the 1860s on, as the studios multiplied, the spectrum widened to include landscapes, monuments, scenes of everyday life, and local “types.” Intricate and decorative designs on the back of studio cards are witness to the diverse and colorful nature of the bygone world of photography in the Ottoman capital.