Turkey: first photography museum opens in Istanbul

Milestone. From first Ottoman shots to present day

09 December, 17:39

(ANSAmed) - ANKARA, DECEMBER 9 - "Turkey's first photography museum" has been opened in Istanbul, and will house and display examples of the art of photography and promote its development.

The "Photography Museum of Istanbul" opened last month and, as the Turkish media has remarked in recent days, provides a window into the evolution of the art form from its beginning to the present day. The museum is located in the "Kadirga" cultural centre in the Fatih district of the city, and hosts exhibitions, archives and a library. It also organises events, conferences and publications. With five galleries spread over a surface area of 1,000 square metres, the building is considered a "milestone" in Turkish art and culture. To mark the opening of the museum, two temporary exhibitions were set up alongside the permanent collection. "Photography today - 2011" displays the work of 200 artists from all generations and sections of society, bringing together all artistic approaches, from black and white to colour.

The museum is open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 10:00 to 18:00, with full-price admission costing 4 Turkish lira, the equivalent of 1.60 euros. The opening is the reward for photography aficionados and the museum itself is run by the Friends of Photography association. "Photography is popular in Turkey," its president, Gultekin Cizgen, says, "and we have dreamed of opening a museum for three decades. We need to show off the level of Turkish photography and everyone should learn about the figures who have contributed to the progress of this art form". Cizgen adds that "you can see everything that is linked to photography" in the museum.

The head of culture and tourism in Istanbul, Emre Bilgili, meanwhile, underlines that the potential of photography and photographers in the country, and in Istanbul in particular, is very high. "Before, we did not have the chance to admire works outside of exhibitions," he says. "The opening of this museum fills a gap in Turkey". One of the most interesting elements is the "Star Collection" commissioned by Sultan Albulhamid II, the man ousted by the military uprising of the Young Turks in 1909. Turkish media have called it "one of the most important collection of photographs in the world". Visitors can then delve into the origins of Turkish photography, the beginnings of which are associated with the shot of a solar eclipse taken with a "dark camera" by an Islamic academic, "Alhazen". The subsequent pictures of the Ottoman Empire go from images of workshops and palaces to those of battlefields. One of the exhibitions currently being held is dedicated to the "masters of photography from the Republican era", which followed the revolution of Kemal Ataturk in the 1920s. (ANSAmed)
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