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Vahe Sarukhanyan

Istanbul Seen Through the Eyes of Armenian Photographers

A photo exhibition entitled "We Love Your Istanbul from the 19 Century till Today", has recently opened at the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church in the Istanbul neighbourhood of Beyoglu.

On display are the works of sixteen Armenians who have lived or worked in the city from the 1850s. They include Ara Guler, Garbis Yozatay, Sarkis Paharoglu and Yashar Sarachoglu.

Armenian reporter and legal advisor Anna Turay, who is also a founder of the Istanbul Armenians Organization, said that the earliest photo labs in Istanbul were opened by Armenians back in the 19 century since Armenians were chemists as well and had strong links to Europe.

"The first photography shops were right here, in Beyoglu, in Pera. 150 years later we have brought these photos back to Pera," said Mrs. Turay.

The theme of the exhibit is Istanbul seen through the eyes of Armenian photographers. Some of the more famous are the Abdullah Brothers, photographers to the royal court, and Ara Guler, who made a mark in the field back in the 1950s.

Anna Turay says that only 20% of the visitors to the exhibit are Armenian, the rest being Turks and foreign tourists.

Some 400 people were on hand for the opening and Turay expects a total of 2,500 by the exhibit’s closing on May 8.