Capturing Constantinople : travel albums (1884-1910)

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2015
Acar, Sibel
This dissertation examines six travel albums of Istanbul produced between 1884 and 1910, held in Pierre de Gigord’s collection of photographs of the Ottoman Empire and the Republic of Turkey at the Getty Research Institute Library in Los Angeles. It explores these albums as nineteenth century presentations of Istanbul by considering the photographers and travelers as the two main actors determining their production as compilations and by analyzing not only the photographs both individually and as part of a sequence, but also the titles, page layouts, and captions. The dissertation compares the contents of albums and observes that tourism worked as a mechanism leading to common perceptions, common expectations, and common appreciation, which in turn created a gaze that influenced the view of the city. It draws on the travelogues, memoirs and guidebooks of the time to grasp the mindsets in which these images and albums were first made, used and understood. While looking at the relationship between the representations of certain architectural subjects in the albums through photographs and in travel writing through verbal accounts, it also investigates the parallel approaches in the engravings of these subjects as the previous form and the technique of visual representation.