Book – Books – Books on Cyprus
It is important to know the past in order to understand the present times
By Heidi Trautmann
For many years now I have one photo of Kyrenia harbor standing in the bookshelves of my studio without knowing who the photographer was. Since we have lived in the harbor on our boat for many months in 1999, we were always attracted to it and the old city. Now, on the occasion of a photo exhibition and book launch I came across this photo again and I learnt who the photographer was.
John Thomson (1837 –1921) was a pioneering Scottish photographer, geographer and traveller. He was one of the first photographers to travel to the Far East, documenting the people, landscapes and artifacts of eastern cultures. He came to Cyprus in 1878. The book is a new edition, nicely done, published by Galerie Kültür in Nicosia. The book is a great source of information with many photos of the life how it was then, photos of people in their traditional dresses at their traditional occupations, sitting in cafés, at work on their land, harvesting, women sitting on the floor of an archway, plucking molehiya most probably; every photo is accompanied with a text in Turkish and English.
I spoke with a friend about the book and she still remembers - with some regret in her voice – the scenes in the harbor – ‘here I used to swim’ and ‘the old village life how it used to be, it is no more.’
At the exhibition, which was at The House Art Rooms in Kyrenia, opposite The Colony Hotel, and which was organized by Oya Silbery, we saw the photos from the book enlarged and in a technically improved form. Oya Silbery who is a young contemporary artist, has manipulated some of the photos and made a piece of art out of them.
With the exhibition closing at the end of the year, the book is available in bookstores in Nicosia, for example Galerie Kültür, Isik Bookstore and Rüstem. If you have problems in finding the places, come back to me for information.