Events

How Armenians Helped Develop Photography in the Ottoman Empire and Beyond

Armenian photographers played a prominent role in the early development and spread of photography throughout the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East.

The Dildilian Family (image courtesy the Dildilian Family Archives)

The early 20th century was a period of upheaval and trauma for the Armenian people, encompassing the collapse of the Ottoman Empire, the annexation of Armenia as a Soviet Republic, and most tragically, the Armenian Genocide, resulting in the deaths of 1.5 million Armenians and the deportation of a million more. It can be difficult to understand what day-to-day life was like during this time, but a new exhibition at the Brand Library and Art Center examines these historic events through the experiences of one family living in Ottoman Turkey. Continuity and Rupture: An Armenian Family Odyssey features thousands of photographs and glass negatives taken by members of the Dildilian Family from the 1870s through their exile in 1922 and resettlement in Greece, France, and the US. Accompanied by exhibition texts written by family members and accounts passed down from earlier generations, the exhibition offers a nuanced and detailed portrait of a tumultuous era.

In conjunction with the exhibition, the Brand will be hosting a day-long symposium on Sunday, titled Photography in the Ottoman Middle East & Beyond. Moderated by the exhibition’s curator, Dr. Armen T. Marsoobian, it will feature several scholars of historical photography discussing the prominent role that Armenian photographers played in the early development and spread of photography throughout the Ottoman Empire and the Middle East.

When: Sunday, March 25, 10:30am–4pm
Where: Brand Library & Art Center (1601 West Mountain Street, Glendale, California)

More info at Brand Library & Art Center.

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