Chamber Talks

Press in Bloom:
19th-Century Reading Culture and Illustrated Ottoman Journals
Ahmet Ersoy


30 March 2017 / 18:30 Geçmiş Aktivite

Many studies focused on photography in the Ottoman era tend to approach photography primarily in terms of its visual content and aesthetic feature, treating it as a final and a distinct object. While art historians and collectors draw on photography predominantly through formal criteria, many historians are inclined to see them as records that document and determine the assumed and accepted contexts and ideologies.

Entitled, “Press in Bloom” this particular study, on the other hand, does not deny the aesthetic aspect of photography, but proposes to open it to multiple readings as a historical document, in other words, to discuss it as a constantly reproduced, circulating, and shape-shifting medium across wide area of use ranging from medical and military discovery to criminology and journalism. According to this approach, the photograph is not a final and closed image; it should be addressed as an “inconstant” medium that can be reproduced in different contexts, producing different meanings and creating distinct conditions in every encounter. It is, therefore, proposed here to study the daily and incidental states of photography within broad and plural media (periodicals, books, business cards, headshots, etc.) by taking into consideration production, distribution, and other processes of perception. Centered on the wide, multi-layered media climates in which photography came to life and held meaning, this study focuses on the place and use of photography in illustrated Ottoman journals such as Servet-i Fünun, Malumat and Maarif. The historic focus of the study will thus be the years of Abdülhamid II’s reign (18766-1909) in which the Ottoman printing world was revived, reader profiles were diversified, and photography blended into the text and made part of daily life. Illustrated Ottoman journals that highlight visual quality will be reviewed to explore the relationship photographs have with the text as well as with other photographs and images. The Ottoman features of this modern media construct and its connection with the new, 19th-century ways of seeing, remembering, and ways of expression will also be studied.

Free of admissions; drop in.
The talk will be in Turkish.