Photography in Turkey

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Photography in Turkey began in the late nineteenth century.


19th century photography[edit]

Already in the 1870s printing companies were using photography in major coastal cities to document buildings and monuments for the municipal government, and to produce postcards for tourists. In this way cities like Smyrna (Izmir) and Trebizond (Trabzon) were documented in the late 19th century. The majority of these photographers and postcard editors were Greeks, Armenians and Italians. Outside Constantinople photography first took off in Trabzon. A photographer of Russian origin called Yermakof opened a photostudio in the city in 1868.[1] Hatchik Tcholakian was an Armenian photographer who opened his studio in Trabzon in the 1870s. However, there were Turks active in the business as well. Kitabi Hamdi Efendi (Bookseller Hamdi), the Turkish owner of a printing house in Trabzon, was publishing his photographs (and those of others), and he sold photo cameras as well. Another Turkish photographer and postcard editor who was active from the late 19th century in Trabzon was Osman Nouri.

One of the first Turkish photographers by profession was Rahmizâde Bâhâeddin Bediz who opened his photostudio in Crete and later in Istanbul. He was active also in the first half of 20th century as a pioneer photographer in Turkey.

Further, as one of the earliest photographers in Turkey, Pascal Sébah, who was born in Istanbul, but not fully Turkish, had his photostudio in Istanbul.

Early 20th century[edit]

Further, Othmar Pferschy, non-Turkish photographer, opened his photo studio in Istanbul in 1931 and actively took documentary photographs.

Late 20th century and 21st century[edit]

In this period, there are emerging numerous Turkish photographers active in and outside of Turkey.

Notable photographers[edit]

  • Ara Güler (16 August 1928 – 17 October 2018) was a Turkish Armenian photojournalist, nicknamed "the Eye of Istanbul" or "the Photographer of Istanbul".[2]
  • Ömer Asan, Ömer Şükrü Asan (born May 28, 1961 in Trabzon, Turkey), is a Turkish folklorist, photographer and writer.
  • Uğur Uluocak, Yaşar Uğur Uluocak (1962 – July 2, 2003) was a Turkish outdoorsman, mountaineer, photographer, and editor.

Non-Turkish photographers active in Turkey[edit]



  1. ^ Unisentified Armenian Boy and Mother (1890s) Web-page on photograph of Armenians in Trabzon
  2. ^ "Ara Güler'in Hayatı" (in Turkish). Archived from the original on 29 November 2009. Retrieved 2017-05-13.

Further reading[edit]

  • Appearances as we see them. A selection of Turkish photography since the founding of the Republic (Biz'den gorunenler. Cumhuriyet sonrasi Turk fotografindan bir secki). [Exhibition catalogue], BOSPHORUS BOOKS, 100 p., color and b/w photos. In Turkish and English, 2004 from with a cover picture
  • Türkiye’de Fotoğraf, Photography in Turkey, Engin Özendes
  • Türk Plastik Sanatçıları Ansiklopedisi, Turkish Fine Art Artists Encyclopedia, Kaya Özsezgin
  • Türk Fotoğrafında 101 kompozisyon 101 yorum, 101 Compositions 101 Critiques on Turkish Photography, Gültekin Çizgen
  • Cumhuriyet’in ışığında: Othmar Pferschy fotoğrafları (In the light of the Republic: photographs of the Othmar Pferschy), Engin Özendes, Karaköy, İstanbul : İstanbul Modern, 2006, ISBN 975-6167-09-2, ISBN 978-975-6167-09-0
  • James Robertson: pioneer of photography in the Ottoman Empire, by Bahattin Öztuncay, Beyoğlu, İstanbul, 1992, ISBN 975-7622-08-7

External links[edit]