AN BEAUTIFUL ARMENIAN FAMILY IN CONSTANTINOPLE, TURKEY

armenian family

Somehow this photograph survived. It must have been an incredible journey through history and time. The image carries some scars. The borders of the photograph have been trimmed (probably to fit into a frame), and the photograph is a bit warped. Not terribly warped, but enough to be unable to lie completely flat on an even surface.  This great photograph would look even greater if it was framed. I suppose I have said enough about the condition of the photograph. This image is absolutely extraordinary. The Armenian family in this image may be one of the most expressive photographed families that I have seen in my many years of viewing historic photographs. This is certainly a family that does not hide emotions. The family is also beautiful and wonderfully dressed. I am having difficulty figuring out the family constellation. In my opinion, either the seven people in the photograph are all siblings, or the image captures a father, mother, and their five children. The father would obviously be the man standing in the rear of the picture. The mother, I hypothesize, is the seated woman. What is your theory about the family constellation of the subjects of this fascinating portrait? There is a note inscribed on the bottom left corner of the photograph. I do not know the translation. The previous owner of this image informed me that this family is Armenian in origin and the photograph was taken in Constantinople, Turkey in the 1920’s. It is important to remember the terrible holocaust that the Armenians experienced just before the time of this photograph. There was conflict between Armenians and Turks between 1892 and 1915. This resulted in the Armenian Genocide which occurred between 1915 and 1918. Estimates are that between .9 and 1.2 million Armenians were killed or deported because of alleged political and security considerations. By the end of the 1920’s, the only viable Armenian population left in Turkey was located in Constantinople. This photograph measures about 5 1/2″ x 7 1/2″.

 

Published in: on August 29, 2015 at 12:00 pm  Comments (2)  

PORTRAIT OF AN ARMENIAN COUPLE IN WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS (PHOTOGRAPHED BY ARMENIAN PHOTOGRAPHER)

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One of the wonderful benefits of studying antique images is that they often are remnants of important and interesting history. This cabinet card image is a terrific example of a photographer capturing history with his/her camera. In this case, the photographer was just not cataloging history, but he was part of it. Lusadaran, the Armenian Photography Foundation, cites the photographer of this cabinet card. An article on their web site discloses that Hairabed was a photographer in Worcester, Massachusetts in the 1900’s through the 1920’s. During his photography career he had shortened his name from his given name of Hairabedian. There is no mention of his first name. The article reports that he had likely emigrated to America from the Ottoman Empire. Once here, he photographed the first waves of Armenian Genocide survivors and immigrants settling in the Worcester area. His specialty was taking studio portraits. After doing some preliminary research, I may have uncovered the photographer’s first name. The city directory of Providence (1909 and 1910) lists a photography studio operated by Bedros and Astoor Hairabedian. The 1910 directory notes that Astoor Hairabedian moved to Salem, Massachusetts during that year. This image was most likely taken before 1910 but it would not be unusual for a family photography business to have been operating at two or more different cities simultaneously. Perhaps Astoor had decided to move to Massachusetts to manage or work at that location to replace or join another relative already there. What do we know about the subjects of this cabinet card portrait? Not much. We can only surmise by their dress and appearance that they are Aremenian immigrants to the United States shortly after the turn of the century. The woman in the image is wearing traditional clothing including a scarf covering her head and much of her face.

Published in: on November 16, 2014 at 11:10 am  Comments (5)  
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Two Armenian Women in Georgia (1910)

armenian

This Cabinet Portrait is an image of two Armenian women photographed in Georgia in 1910. Writing on the reverse of the card indicates that the women are named Mara and Jenia.

Published in: on January 8, 2009 at 2:23 am  Leave a Comment  
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