Picturing the Ottoman Armenian World ~ Photography in Erzerum, Harput, Van and Beyond
By David Low
The Armenian contribution to Ottoman photography in the last decades of the empire has been well-documented. Studios founded and run by Armenian Ottomans in Istanbul contributed to the exciting cultural flourishing of Ottoman 'modernity', before its dissolution after World War I. Less known however are the pioneering studios from the east in the empire's Armenian heartlands, whose photographic output reflected and became a major form of documenting the momentous events and changes of the period, from war and revolution to persecution, migration and ultimately, genocide.
This book examines photographic activity in three Armenian cities on the Armenian plateau: Erzurum, Kharpert and Van. It explores how indigenous photography was rooted in the seismic social, political and cultural shifts that shaped Armenian lives during the Ottoman Empire's last four decades. Arguing that photographic practice was marked by the era's central movements, it shows how photography was bound-up in Armenian educational endeavours, mass migration and revolutionary activity. Photography responded to and became the instrument of these phenomena, so much so that it can be shown that they were responsible for the very spread of the medium through the Armenian communities of the Ottoman East and the rapid increase in photographic studios.
Contributing to growing interest in Ottoman and Middle Eastern photographic history, the book also offers a valuable perspective on the history of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
Armenians in the Modern and Early Modern World Series, Bedross Der Matossian series editor
I.B. Tauris (2022)