Turkey Photo Tour: Culture and photography
The more you know about the destination culture the better it works for a travel photographer. Knowing more about Turkey photography, ensures that your Turkey photo tour is going to bring more and better photographic and emotional rewards. Let’s explore some historical moments of how photography has originally appeared and evolved in Turkey.
Turkey photography started in the late 1800 and at the start of the century, Turkish photographers could also be found in a variety of other countries.
Travel and photography have evolved in tandem over the years. The ability to travel became more widely available mostly after the Daguerrotype, in 1839 and, of course, for the masses later on with the Kodak camera.
Such thing as a photo tour to Turkey was not even imaginable, of course. A 19th-century travel photographer who wanted to document their adventure photography trip needed to process their images immediately following exposure, which meant they required all of their equipment on hand. This entailed transporting a portable darkroom, a plethora of hazardous chemicals, plate holders, tanks, heavy glass plates, and, as it many times happens today, a large camera and tripod.
Travel and photography have evolved in tandem over the years. Ability to travel became more widely available, so did the opportunities to document these experiences on film.
Photography was one of the main technical findings that helped modernization to grow in the 19th century. It was introduced by travelers to the lands of the Ottoman Empire –now Turkey- and spread to the end of the 19th century. In 1845 the Italian brothers Carlo and Giovanni Naya set up a first professional photographic studio in Istanbul. The first Ottoman to set up a studio in 1850 was Vasilaki Kargopoulo.
The first photographer to open a photographic studio in Crete was Rahmizade Abd-Eddein (sometimes Abdin Rahmizade Baha-Eddin). He was an early photographer in Istanbul, too. Another famous photographer was the Bookseller Hamdi as well.
A 19th-century travel photographer who wanted to document their adventure photography trip needed to process their images immediately following exposure, which meant they required all of their equipment on hand. This entailed transporting a portable darkroom, a plethora of hazardous chemicals, plate holders, tanks, heavy glass plates, and, as it many times happens today, a large camera and tripod.
Only later, in 1839 Louis Jacques Daguerre invented the daguerreotype photographic process. This could be the origins of a photo tour somehow… The daguerreotype made transiting with photography equipment possible, albeit a difficult task with long exposure times. Furthermore, because you couldn’t reproduce multiple prints to sell to others if you didn’t have any negatives, this process had limited appeal to commercial travel photographers on a photography trip.
Sultan Abdülhamid II (r. 1876-1909) enjoyed photography himself. The art of photography evolved in the Ottoman Empire fast throughout his reign. In 1893 the Sultan sent to the Library of Congress 51 photo albums w and to the British Museum in England 47 photo albums to introduce the Turkey photography of the Ottoman Empire. Photographers were commissioned by the Sultan to document events and main institutions in the country.
Portrait photography was held in high esteem by the elite, such as the sultans and politicians and their family members. In the Sultan’s Palace of Yıldız there was even a fully-equipped photo studio since January 1894. Ali Rıza Bey was designated as the director of the studio.
In the Central Library of the Istanbul University and the Islamic History, Art and Culture Research Center (IRCICA) archives we can find the albums with photographs taken by 6 photographers with a selection of school pictures and other scenes in Aleppo, Çankırı, Denizli, Bagdad, Edirne, Manisa, Aydın, Bursa, Zemit, Thessalonica, Kastamonu, Trabzon, Beirut, and Istanbul.
You will have the chance to see by yourself the great photographic possibilities of a great photography trip on our next Turkey Photo Tour.