Books – Books – Book on Cyprus Photographic History
By Heidi Trautmann
In the last issue of Cyprus Observer I have already
announced the launch of the book, an important book for North Cyprus as there
is no National Museum to take care of the photographic history. I have been to the launch of the book and
have scanned some of its content for our readers.
The presentation was curated by Özgül Ezgin, herself
photographer and member of the Cypriot Photographers’ Gallery. The guests were
invited into the auditorium of the Atatürk Cultural Centre to listen to her
introduction of the book, accompanied by a slide show to demonstrate the value
of it, starting with the very first photographs taken in Cyprus taken by
travelers coming from the West when they realized that the Ottoman Empire was
collapsing: Travelers with a purpose to explore the riches of the island, they
came with the first photographic equipment (1859-60). From there we were introduced to the first
Turkish Cypriot photographers (1880), they were all named by name. It was an
enormous task by Kadir Kaba to dig down to the roots, do research in all
possible places, contact families who willingly opened their family archives.
In Kadi Kaba’s new book the history is explained in a
simple and understandable language – in English and Turkish, highlighting the
technique available at that period. He has collected the logos of the photo
studios, for example by Ahmet Sevki with
the date given 1887, often starting very simple, in the beginning still seeking
the customers at their village homes; later the customers came to the studios
to have their pictures taken where fantasy stage settings for all occasions
Artefacts such as old photographic equipment and
photos are in private possession and have been loaned to Kadir Kaba for the
establishment of his research book. Many
treasures have been destroyed during the troublesome times in Cyprus which was
a shocking experience for the families, it was like loosing their past, as many
had told me.
There is also a lot of background information
contained in the book that will be interesting to researchers, writers,
students, such as descriptions of techniques and their origin; biographies of
photographers; terminology and glossary.
Nazif Bozatlı created the bridge from the lecture to
the personal side and told us about the creation of the book itself, about the
person Kadir Kaba and his many engagements around photography. The translation
into English was done by Asli Giray and Nazif Bozatli and the latter has provided
some information from his rich archive. Kadir Kaba invited us to see the
exhibition of the photos which were in the adjoining exhibition hall.
A German visitor I met was remarking that the persons
on the photos dated around the beginning of last centuries looked already very
westernized…..and not shy at all I would add.
The Origins of Turkish Cypriot Photography
ISBN No. 978-9963-2923-0-1
The book was sponsored by the Ministry of Tourism,
Environment and Culture.