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Istanbul, photographes et sultans, 1840-1900

Catherine Pinguet

We are not always aware of the speed at which inventions spread. This book gives us a good example: photography had barely being revealed to the French public at the conference of Arago in August 1839 and it was already known all over the planet. As of February 1840, Horace Vernet and Goupil-Fesquet were in Istanbul with their black box. The passion the residents of that city had for that new process would no longer dwindle and the well-known workshops – Sebah, Abdullah – would compete with the specialists who came from abroad (Girault de Prangey, Naya, Claude-Marie Ferrier, Gervais-Courtellemont) to shoot the portrait of the Turkish capital. They shot the soveieigns (Abdülmecid stepped up to the throne in that fatal year 1839), architecture and panoramas (the Galata tower and the Bosphore soon imposed themselves as icons), the population (armed Circassians, Dervish, beggars and the countless dogs in the city), the trades (firemen, tobacco companies, rug factories),up to political events (the conference of the Golden Horn in 1876-77). These images, all from the same collection, describe a golden age that would be swept away by the upheavals of the beginning of the XXth century.

Istanbul, photographes et sultans, 1840-1900, by Catherine Pinguet (collection Pierre de Gigord), CNRS éditions, 2011, 244 p., 39 €.

Istanbul, photographes et sultans, 1840-1900 - Catherine Pinguet

Review published in the newsletter #234 - from 10 November 2011 to 16 November 2011

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