Armenian photography

by admin on Среда, Февраль 8th, 2012

The art of photography in Armenia was developed much later, than in Armenian colonies. The end of the nineteenth century was distinguished by a great number of brilliant Armenian photographers and their command of the photography production market in major cities throughout the Ottoman Empire. Armenians fell victim to political violence and massacres during the final decade of the nineteenth century between 1894 and 1897. These conditions continued between 1915 and 1917 at the hands of ‘The Young Turk Organization’, which forced the expulsion of many Armenians to Syria, Iraq, and Egypt, and the migration of others to Europe and North America. The craft of photography was one of the means used by Armenians to rebuild their lives as they relocated. For the Armenians, the crafts they mastered became capital, dependent, as they were, upon expert knowledge. Armenians’ forced migration from one country to another meant starting from zero. But with knowledge and craft as their primary capital, Armenians rose to prominence in their new communities, proving their worth, and leading economic activity in various arenas. Despite heavy migration from the Levant to North America, Armenians remain to this day key craftsmen, manufacturers, and traders.

A final observation must be made here: the Armenians were distinguished in their esprit de corps. From the very beginning, when they became integral to the production of photography in the early 1860s, their activity resembled a family of bees building a beehive. Brothers participated in the work. The craft was transferred from fathers to sons, or from one brother to another, or from one family to another by way of marriage. Examples of this abound. In conclusion, what Armenian photographers produced over nearly a century is a photographic archive of great importance in a region undergoing radical changes. The photographic shots recorded by Armenian eyes remain as witness, not only to the competence of the photographer, but to a time long gone, its sole memory images upon photographic paper.

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