Find it

Camera Ottomana

Photography and modernity in the Ottoman Empire 1840–1914

April 21, 2015 – August 19, 2015

ANAMED Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations, İstiklal Caddesi No. 181, Merkez Han, Beyoğlu, İstanbul

Curated by Zeynep Çelik, Edhem Eldem and Bahattin Öztuncay, an authority on photographers of the Ottoman Empire, this exhibition looks at photography and modernity in the Ottoman Empire from 1840 to 1914. Materials in the exhibition are on loan from the Ömer M Koç Collection, with some of the displayed photographs from albums commissioned by Sultan Abdülhamid II.

After the birth of photography in 1839, the Empire embraced the new technology with great enthusiasm. In fact, the impact and meaning of photography were compounded by the thrust of modernisation and Westernisation of the Tanzimat movement. By the turn of the century, photography in the Ottoman lands had become a standard feature of everyday life, of public media and of the state apparatus. During Sultan Abdülhamid II’s reign modernity was often embedded in the photographic act, transforming it into a common and mundane practice showcasing his empire for Western audiences.

This exhibition displays different forms of these images disseminated through the illustrated press, postcards sent to family members or anonymous collectors, portraits presented to friends and acquaintances, or pictures taken of employees and convicts – and ultimately demonstrates how photography started to invade practically every sphere of the public and private life. The exhibition brings together the Empire’s modern image with an extensive selection of photographs, emphasising the widespread use of photography in various areas such as propaganda, journalism, education, criminology and medicine.

Find it
More Reading
Good places to stay
Buy the latest issue
Or browse the back issues here
Issue 59, June 2019 Behind Closed Doors
£ 12.00

Cornucopia Digital Subscription

Cornucopia Online

Cornucopia has joined forces with the digital publishing platform Exact Editions to offer individual and institutional subscribers unlimited access to a searchable archive of fascinating back issues and every newly published issue. This brand new resource is available cross-platform on web, iOS and Android and offers a comprehensive search function, allowing the title’s cultural content to be delved into at the touch of a button.

Digital Subscription: £18.99 / 1 year

Subscribe now

Print subscribers automatically receive FREE access to the digital archive. If you are already a subscriber, please register at with your subscriber account number or contact