Turkey: Late Ottoman Empire Modern Republic

Photography in Turkey dates back to the 1840s. Initially promoted by studios such as those of Abdullah Frères, and Sabah and Joaillier, photography quickly became popular and widespread throughout the country: this is evident in the rapid rise in the number of photographic studios in many Turkish cities in the late years of the Ottoman Empire and in the growth of vernacular photograph in the years following the founding of the Republic in 1923.

Akkasah’s collection from Turkey currently includes over 10000 images from the late Ottoman era and the modern Turkish republic. The collection is comprised primarily of amateur photographs from family albums and of individual and group portraits taken in various studios across Turkey. Though many date back to the first decade of the twentieth century and some are from as late as the 1970s and 1980s, to core of the collection focuses on the period from the 1920s through to the end of the 1950s. As such, the Akkasah collection offers a fascinating glimpse into the daily life of a rapidly Westernizing society, and provides a fresh perspective on the nation-building process seen through the lens of daily and private life.

The Akkasah Turkish collection also contains a substantial number of orientalist postcards from major Ottoman cities including Istanbul, Cairo, Alexandria, Port Said, Damascus and Beirut.