Photography, 19th century, West Asia
For the discussion of this issue, we were in the service of the great professors, Dr. Mohammad Sattari and Dr. Mohammad Khodadadi Motarjemzadeh, and we talked about the subject of "the emergence of photography in West Asian countries" on various topics. Thanks to the dear professors who accepted our invitation for this important event. We hope that the result of this discussion, which contains valuable and enlightening points about the main issue, will be useful for the readers.
To make reading this conversation as easy as possible, the questions and answers are formulated in such a way that the logical routine of the discussion is maintained. After each question, the professors' opinions on the issue are given immediately, and at the end, additional questions and answers are added. At the same time, the tone of the conversation that dominated the whole discussion has been preserved.
Mr. Khoobdel: We begin the discussion by pointing out that Iran is almost the only Muslim country in West Asia (the countries that has been studied in the West Asian region: Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, UAE, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain, Syria, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon, Cyprus, Republic of Azerbaijan, Armenia, Georgia) that the Shiite kingdom (Nasser al-Din Shah) was interested in photography; this is while apparently the Ottoman King forbids photography. How do you analyze this initial event in photography? And in your opinion, what categories can be affected by this issue? This question is a kind of introduction to the role of religion in the acceptance of photography.
Dr. Sattari: In response to this question, I must say that in my opinion, Nasser al-Din Shah's was interest in photography when he was young. In my opinion, he had no religious views at all on the reprehensible aspects of his image and photography or his ignorance; he did whatever he wanted. One of his hobbies, which later became his love, was photography. He also painted, drew with pencil, worked with watercolors, recited poetry, and wrote stories for children. Shah was an artist, but photography had a special place for him. A good thing about photography and its history in Iran, or the early spread of photography in Iran after its birth in the West, could be that a child who loves photography, as the king of Iran, takes matters into his own hands; and photography is one of the things that keeps his mind busy for long periods of time. I have no reliable information about the Ottoman king who forbade photography, and I cannot comment explicitly on this statement. It was good to say which Ottoman king forbade photography.
We know that the Abdullah brothers were very active in photography during the reigns of Sultan Abdul Aziz and Sultan Abdul Hamid II, and in 1893, the Sultan donated 51 albums of photographs to the Library of Congress. The photos are also varied. These two Ottoman kings who did not forbid photography.
Naser al-Din Shah accompanied Agha Reza on a journey from the Caliphate of Tehran to Mashhad, which took him back and forth on 1866-1867. When they arrived too Sabzevar, by the command of Naser al-Din Shah, Agha Reza takes a photo of Hakim Mullah Mohammad Baqir Sabzevari, who was one of the great scholars. In a conversation between Agha Reza and Haj Mollahadi Sabzevari, he asks the photographer - Agha Reza: What do you want to do? And Mr. Reza says in response: I want to take a photo of you. "What does that mean?" And Mr. Reza says: I mean, we will have your picture. Hakim says: How does what exists in the universe and is three-dimensional become two-dimensional? After Mr. Reza takes the photo, he goes to his carriage and shows and prints the glass and brings it to Hakim. Hakim says (this is the theme): The science of photography is very good! Now, this can be considered as a kind of licensing for the permissibility of photographing people during the reign of Nasser al-Din Shah, in Shiite Iran, but there are many vague points about it. Ambiguous in the sense that not that this event did not happen, this event did happen and the photo is in the album. In the same album of the first trip of Khorasan, where I presented the history to you, Agha Reza's brother, Ali Naghi Hakim al-Mamalik, who has written the description of this trip (description of Naser al-Din Shah's first trip to Mashhad), describes the same event by mentioning the day that they arrived, what Hakim said, what Mr. Reza said, Nasser al-Din Shah will serve Hakim and other issues that are far from our discussion. Some friends have said that it was a kind of - perhaps - Nasser al-Din Shah's futurism and foresight that he wanted to get a ruling for the solution of photography from the greatest Shiite world of that time, but now there is no document about this issue. In my opinion, during their trip from Tehran to Mashhad, Nasser al-Din Shah instructed Mr. Reza everywhere to take photo of people, places, and things that were interesting to him, or to take photo of Agha Reza himself; But now that he has predicted that you will go and take a picture of Hakim or in some way ask him about photography, in this case, no document has been seen for such a purpose.
The photo of Hakim Mullah Mohammad Baqer Sabzevari is available in album No. 224 of Golestan Palace. Agha Reza sealed this photo. Also, there is the same photo of Hakim Mullah Mohammad Baqir Sabzevari in other albums where Agha Reza did not seal the photo, that is, it is known that he printed some photos of that glass and stamped one of them. Below that he wrote the description of the trip himself - and this album is one of the albums that has about 143 photos.
Islam has a series of restrictions on images, photographs, sculptures, and paintings. Consequently, in the countries of West Asia, in societies where Islam was prevalent, the prevalence of photography was associated with a number of considerations - perhaps in Russia and the Soviet Union. For example, in the Soviet Union, we had republics that were part of the USSR, but for example, in the south of the Soviet Union and on the northern shores of the Caspian Sea, where Islam was prevalent, the phenomenon of photography among the people and taking photos of people. Russian photographers, Western, and foreign photographers - these encounters differed somewhat from the orthodox parts of the north.
Dr. Motarjamzadeh: I have some doubts about the king's declaration of being forbidden. Because according to what I have read - more than the master's dissertation in the field of photography prepared by Mr. Mehdi Sadeghi, which I think is a good and citationable dissertation - in 1920 an imitation authority named Mr. Shaykh al-Islam issued a fatwa that photographing humans or animals for non-Muslims. He gave this sentence, but I have not seen anywhere that the king did it. However, the visual tradition in Turkey has been that many kings in the period leading up to the advent of photography, the same 1860s (before that, portrait in the form of painting was common) and in periods when the pressure from the religious increased and gained power. They even covered the portraits, but it was not officially forbidden by the kings. As in this dissertation, there is a detailed discussion about Sultan Abdul Hamid II, which we can say can be said that like Nasser al-Din Shah, he was interested in photography, although we cannot say that their works are the same and they differ from each other in terms of their view and use of photography. In any case, this distinction and difference between the Qajar Shah and the Ottoman Shah existed in my opinion, but neither of them declared it forbidden, but it was the religion of Islam that was generally sensitive to this issue, and this stems from that. In my opinion, the situation has naturally been more acute in a place like Saudi Arabia. It is absolutely forbidden for non-Muslims to enter the holy cities of Mecca and Medina; and in any case, photography from the perspective that it could create the photo of something was considered by some to be an act of doing God or disrespecting God, but I do not think there was any serious resistance to it. Although we have had internal and external cultural debates, this has been the case in all Muslim societies. For example, indoor and outdoor photography were different. We do not usually have women photography indoors; that is, men could not take photo of women, they were allowed to be photographed only outdoors, with full coverage. This issue may have been less serious in contemporary Turkey with our Qajar period. There, photographers could travel a little more easily. But in fact, I do not believe that the king declared it forbidden.
This event, the beginning of photography in these countries, requires a very extensive study. First of all, you have to make it clear to us that we have several countries as places where photography can be explored; for example, it should be about Turkey and Iran the most, and North Africa is almost connected to us in some way. That is, when we talk about Egypt, or Lebanon or Palestine, or Saudi Arabia, perhaps to some extent, they are almost interconnected; but in my opinion, we no longer have a prominent and powerful place on this side to compare their photography with that of Iranian photography.
Another issue is that, unfortunately, we are currently witnessing a kind of historical ignorance in recent years. Some time ago I was looking at " A History of Photography from 1839 to the present", edited by George Eastman House and reprinted by TASCHEN Publications in 2019. It is very interesting that in the list page, he has brought photography in different places such as Italy, the Middle East, Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Baalbek, Jerusalem and Turkey, and then all of a sudden India, Japan, China and the United States; it is very interesting that Iran is not in this list! I want to say that this is ignorance. In fact, TASCHEN is a reputable publication, and the book's contributions are powerful, but it's not even the name of Iran, and I think in the history of photography, this leap from western Iran to eastern Iran is a bit of a moral expression, a touch on history. This book is in human education anyway and is in English, so what does that mean?! I want to say that a lot of what happens and the resources we have available can be incomplete.
Mr. Khobdel: What Dr. Motarjamzadeh said in the book about the neglect of photography-related activities in the geography of Iran, and which is somehow seen in all photographic histories that also carry the global prefix, is very disturbing; and not seeing the contribution of this culture in promoting the language of this media is more than anything, the motivation of the members of this publication so that with your help, you can pay our respects to all those who try this dear media, in this environment and culture. Basically, this is one of the reasons why the magazine and the website belonging to this magazine are bilingual (Persian, Arabic, and English) and we try to provide this information and enlightenment in different languages.
OK! What we realized now was that in the nineteenth century, when we talk about photography in West Asia, we are faced with three important and significant geographical and cultural areas (albeit on a large scale): Forbidden countries of Iran, the Ottoman Empire, and the southern parts of the Russian Empire. In these three areas, it can almost be said that the official Abrahamic religions have a significant presence - Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Although many photographers active in all three fields have been Christians, we have no credible evidence that Christianity has a problem with the phenomenon of photography. Also, considering that in the Ottoman Empire - which somehow considers itself the center of the Islamic world - we do not have significant Muslim professional photographers, but in Shiite Iran, the king and many other dignitaries turn to photography, there is no connection between the Shiite relationship, and Sunni established photography. I will try to articulate my question in a more precise way: "Are there different attitudes of Shiites and Sunnis towards the photography or not?" This hypothesis was formed in my mind when I saw a document from Sultan Abdul Hamid II who told the Muslim assistant of one of the Christian photographers in the court that it is better for you to avoid this for religious reasons and ... (quoted in the book Photography in Ottoman Empire, 1900th century).
But according to the sayings of the great masters, there is no serious difference in the attitude of Sunnis and Shiites towards photography.
But do you confirm that Christians have faced fewer restrictions in photography, and this is probably one of the reasons why they are more active in this field?
Motarjemzadeh: You see, an important point that happened in this historical period was the emergence of photography in different countries, usually by advisers; that is, by those who came to these areas and there was a need that the countries of this region felt. We see that the Persian Constitutional Revolution, when photography also entered Iran, coincided with many revolutions in the world; that is, the Russian Revolution itself, and with a few years here and there, the revolutions in Mexico, Turkey, and elsewhere. In fact, the governments of these regions have undergone a change of status - a change of governmental, political, and cultural status - and it is natural that the role of advisor here becomes much more pronounced here. Abdul Hamid II seems to want more photography to maintain his rule and to have reports from different parts of his country - of course Nasser al-Din Shah does the same, and in a more desirable way. But perhaps we can say that Nasser al-Din Shah paid more attention to the artistic aspects and manifestations of this matter; and I think the set of things he has done has focused more on the photographic medium itself and its capabilities, rather than using one of its capabilities. This in itself creates an exception, that is, I think we can say that Nasser al-Din Shah had an artistic taste, but others did not.
So the first photographers were among the foreign advisers, there were also those who went to these countries from these countries to teach or learn technology and industry, where they saw this industry and brought it with them; others have been by the court itself. It may be said with suspicion that these technologies were passed down by themselves because of some of the specialties that were the prerogative or capability of the Westerners. At that time, photography was neither an art nor anything else, but a technology.
Another important point is the issue of oil. When I saw the centennial oil exhibition, I do not know exactly who worked hard for it, but I have to thank Professor Chanani, who played a very influential role there, I realized how effective oil has been in the Middle East. When oil is discovered in Iran, first in Basra, then a contract is made and, as they say, black mud is transported there. It seems to me that this issue has also had an effect on what is happening in the region for the photographic media. That is, there is a need for some kind of progress in this region, which causes these countries to change their system of government from feudalism to constitutionalism; find a parliament, find a printing press, and naturally, when it comes to photography, find photography, and many other manifestations of progress that were felt in the mid-nineteenth century, in the 1850s, to have them. That is why we see that in most of these countries, photography, now a few years ago, begins in 1850. In Iran, there is usually a claim that he came here three / four years after the advent of photography, and that's good; it should be noted, however, that photography flourished in those years, 1850 to 1860, when the aspects and effects of photography became more general.
Mr. Khoobdel: We asked this question in a bad way, it is necessary to mention a point about the story of the Ottoman Empire and Sultan Abdul Hamid II and the prohibition of photography: What we meant most was that when we read in historical sources, it is generally condemned that photography was condemned in the Ottoman Empire. As far as, for example, we see data that the Sultan tells a Muslim photographer who is an assistant to an Armenian photographer that you should not use this phenomenon, and this is something that is not related to our religion. Just like you said, Sultan Abdul Hamid makes many uses for photography; this is true, but we do not have a prominent Muslim photographer among the Ottomans, at least until the Ottoman "settings" or the entry into the twentieth century, all of the leading photographers, including the Sabah, Pascal, and Abdullah brothers, are generally Armenian. Mr. Roxburg has done some research in Technologies of The Image; Regarding the fact that Armenians in this region in general have played a great role in the growth and development of photography, and in comparison with Iran and the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century, we see that there are a number of Muslim photographers in Iran; that is, the Shiite king is a photographer himself, and so is Agha Reza and the rest of the photographers, and now there are Armenian photographers in Iran as well. But we have a lot of Muslim photographers, Muslim professional photographers. But in the Ottoman Empire this is not seen, that is, I did not deal with its official proclamation, but to be denounced is very much and even in the Ottoman court there is no Muslim photographer. This brought to mind the fact that now perhaps in this case, the issue is not directly related to the requirements of Shiism or Sunni, and moreover, it goes back to a personal interest, that is, to a personal event and interest of Nasser al-Din Shah who was able to Allow the phenomenon for other people. Even, I have heard that the king, in addition to Haj Mollahadi Sabzevari, seems to have received written documents and guarantees from other authorities about the quality of photography. I mean, does this really make the king figure, or does Shiism, for example, deal more easily with the phenomenon of the photographic image, but not Sunnis? Or was it just a coincidence?
Dr. Sattari: Regarding the question of whether there are different attitudes of Shiites and Sunnis towards the photography or not, I will say my personal impression, because I am not an expert in this field. In my opinion, Shiite jurisprudence is in many cases more dynamic than Sunni, and I think that the Sunni countries there do not have a very favorable view of photography. Photography cannot be performing easily there, I myself have seen that in Saudi Arabia, photography is not allowed in holy places. In addition, outside, even in the yard, you are not allowed to take photographs, now I do not know if this has a security aspect! But the late Bahman Jalali, the late Dr. Shahriyar Adl, I and a few others at the Academy of Arts had a seminar on photography and the history of photography. I think Dr. Shahriyar Adl's lecture was about the strictness of photography in Sunni Islamic countries. He said that I had just come from a foreign trip and said that Sunnis are very strict about photography, but it is a little easier for us to deal with photography. Let me give you an example: After the Cultural Revolution of 1980 in Iran, universities were closed. At that time, the Faculty of Fine Arts had a degree in sculpture and painting, but photography had not yet officially opened; but Dr. Shafaieh taught photography for years for other visual disciplines at the Faculty of Fine Arts. Later, when we, as the first photography students in Iran, entered the college in February 1983, the field of sculpture and music were still stopped, and it was unlikely that these fields would re-emerge. One day when I entered the faculty building, I saw fatwas about various works of art pasted on the faculty wall. Prior to this incident, there were issues that were asked, for example, whether someone who is studying photography or is a photographer and they should give him a photo of a foreigner woman, a negative of a foreigner woman, should print it. What is the ruling? That is, for example, the lady who is in the negative and has a bare head, and I, who have a job in photography and I want to publish this, what is her ruling, and then they left a resignation from the late Ayatollah Khomeini, the subject of which was: If the person who prints this negative is a photographer and does not know the woman and his gaze is not lustful, printing a photo is not prohibited. It is not forbidden. I think there have been such fatwas from the late Ayatollah Khomeini on the field of sculpture and music or the like. I reiterate that I am not an expert in this field at all. Experts, scholars and elders in this field should comment. But I think this dynamic is a bit more in Shiite jurisprudence. (For more information on these cases and jurisprudential research, please refer to the book: Jurisprudential Thoughts in the Field of Art, Dr. Zahra Gavahi, Astan Quds Razavi Publications (Publisher) First Edition, 2011.)
Dr. Motarjamzadeh: On this subject, I am quoting from the dissertation that I introduced, of course, not about photography, but about a painted, designed and even woven portrait that was probably considered obscene in its time. On page eight, the author notes that "for some time after the death of Sultan Mahmud II, these portraits were covered with curtains so that they would not be exposed." This, of course, has nothing to do with photography. On page 14 he mentions that in 1920 a new official religious publication, published by Shaykh al-Islam, the supreme authority for the implementation of Islamic law in the Ottoman Empire, published the text of a fatwa for Muslims stating: Is it illegal for a Muslim to draw the picture or take photograph of a human or an animal? Yes, it is illegal. Is it illegal to buy a house with such pictures? Yes, it is against the standards of Islam. He also points out that Judaism absolutely forbids representation, citing a verse from the Torah which says: Do not let anyone create for you a picture engraved or any picture similar to that which is in Paradise on earth or under water. Do not bend your back to these picture and serve them. As I am your Lord ...
In the continuation of this article, he writes: Rahmi Zadeh Bahauddin was the first Muslim who opened a photography studio in Istanbul in 1910, quotes him as saying: "I decided to open my own studio in the old city of Istanbul to fight the tradition of covering up and fearing sin and the sharia ban."
Mr. Khoobdel: As for the story of how different cultures deal with photography, as you both said, in the nineteenth century a large part of the field we are considering is governed by the Ottoman Empire. But the main problem for us here is that in the same Ottoman Empire, different cultures coexist; different cultures, races, and languages. For example, there are Arabs and Turks, there are even cultures from Eastern Europe and from Greece and Cyprus, there are Caucasian cultures towards Azerbaijan, Azeri culture, etc.; but in nineteenth-century Ottoman photography, what we encounter are the same mostly Armenian photographers who worked in Jerusalem or present-day Palestine, Lebanon, and so on. We do not know much about Arab photographers working in Saudi Arabia or in southern Saudi Arabia. We wanted to see if Arab culture had a special relationship with this media. Did they use it at all, for example, to take photograph of the house of God or religious ceremonies, etc.? Personally, I did not deal much with this issue in the history books on Ottoman photography. I mean, in these areas, did these subcultures - who are not very small - use a special ability of photography, and what was their reaction to this medium at all? Did they accept it, or not? Or is there something special and interesting in the form of their acceptance or not? Please tell us about the details of the emergence of photography in the countries of West Asia; also, if you see certain points or features in the treatment of some countries and cultures with this new media, please let us know.
Dr. Sattari: To answer this question, we need to explain it more generally. If we go back to the nineteenth century, some of these countries that you mentioned as the countries studied in West Asia were ruled by Ottoman rulers. Later, due to exploitative greed and the plans of Western governments, the Ottoman Empire was fragmented; Parts of it fell to Russia - for example, parts of Armenia and Georgia - as well as other parts that were already under British rule, such as eastern Iran, as well as Afghanistan, Pakistan, the current Turkish Republic, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and so on. This distinction that you make now is not what it used to be then. All these countries were under one rule and then divided. A group fell into the hands of the Russians. So we have to correct this point first.
Dr. Motarjamzadeh: I know that many other professors, such as Dr. Mohammad Sattari, Professor Tahmasbpour, Mr. Chenani, Pedram Khosronejad and Professor Mehrdad Najmabadi, the late Bahman Jalali, Ms. Dana Stein, Professor Adl, Iraj Afshar, the late Yahya Zaka Mr. Samsar has worked in these fields and they are more competent. Also, some of our younger colleagues, Ms. Khadijeh Mohammadi Namaghi, Ms. Carmen Perez Gonzalez, as well as Dr. Stacey Shaywill, Dr. Marcus Ritter, and, of course, Professor Asad Naqshbandi, have done some research to which I refer you.
Mr. Khoobdel: If you want to compare Iran with other West Asian countries in terms of workload and also work in the field of art photography, what would be your opinion?
Dr. Sattari: I had the chance to participate in two FIAP congresses, one in 1995 in Andorra and the other in Shenzhen, China, which may be dated 1998 or 2000. Let me briefly explain about FIAP that it is a photography association that is not under the supervision of any government or government organization, it is an international association in the field of photography that runs at the expense of its members. However, he has a special look at photography. When I represented Iran at FIAP, it had members from 48 countries - it could have an official representative from each country. When I attended the FIAP Congress held in Andorra (July 30, 1995), I took photo magazine courses with me and delivered them to FIAP members from I showed these 48 countries of the world. We also had seminars, as well as free discussions and various roundtables. Now that I am matching the members of those 48 countries with your list - the countries of the West Asian region - I see that there are representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Syria. I did not see - I do not remember Jordan and Palestine, of course, maybe it was Lebanon; Cyprus was also present, as well as the newly independent Republics of Azerbaijan and Georgia; He may have been a representative of Georgia, but I do not remember Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan. I mentioned there that this is our photo magazine in Iran, and we have a bachelor's degree in photography, and it has been a year since the master's degree in photography was launched at the University of Arts in Iran. Members of these West Asian study countries were surprised that such a quality magazine was published in Iran. Consequently, if they also had a magazine in their home country, they would bring it; because one of the meetings was about reviewing the photography magazines of these countries. Nothing was presented, I do not say they did not have a magazine, they did not present anything, which is more indicative of the lack of a photography magazine in these countries. Also, in terms of busyness in the field of art photography, we can consider one of the indicators as the academic field of photography in these specific countries; none of these countries even had a bachelor's degree in photography, and they were surprised that we have a bachelor's and master's degree in photography in Iran.
When we wanted to go to Andorra from Iran, we flew from Tehran to Barcelona and from there, by bus, we reached Andorra, which is a mountainous country between France and Spain and does not even have an airport runway. When we got there, someone joked that we thought how did you come from Iran, does Iran have a plane? Does it have an airport? Now we see he has a photo magazine! He also has a university degree in photography!
So one of the hallmarks of art photography can be related to the university of photography in that country. When I compare Iran with other West Asian countries in your list, I see that the representatives of the countries did not talk about having academic photography, and consequently in these countries that you mentioned, I think maybe Iran was more advanced than them.
Mr. Khobdel: One of the important questions we missed is about the role of schools or academies in which photography was taught as a science and technology; for example, the Academy of Arts in Iran. Please tell us about the role of this institute in introducing and popularizing photography in Iran; Do we have accurate information about the photography students at this school, or the courses that were taught? And for how many years has photography education been one of the courses of this institute? Do you know of any similar institution in the nineteenth-century Ottoman Empire?
Dr. Sattari: Since the reopening of the Dar al-Fonun, which is the first polytechnic high school in Iran, the first group of foreign teachers have established a photography studio there, and photography has been part of the curriculum of the Dar al-Fonun Department of Chemistry since 1860.
(Sattari, 2006, 74). Article "Creative Photography in Iran" in the Quarterly Journal of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, Spring 2006, No. 25, pp. 74-78.
Some of the teachers and students of photography at the Academy are as follows:
"Fuketi", an Italian officer who came to Iran and the Academy of Arts in November 1851 to teach artillery, physics, and chemistry, and according to Etemad al-Saltaneh, used Collondion in the Academy of Arts (Zaka ُ, 1997, 23/23).
The Austrian "August Kersich", who was hired as an artillery teacher at the Academy of Arts and was in Iran since1851 to 1860 began his photography experience at the Academy of Arts. (Zaka, 18,1998).
Another teacher at the Academy was Jules Richard, who taught English and French during the reign of Nasser al-Din Shah and after the inauguration of the Academy. In Nasser al-Din Shah's youth, this Mr. Jules Richard had photographed Nasser al-Din Mirza, the Crown Prince of Mohammad Shah, in a daguerreotype. He did not teach photography at the Dar al-Fonun, but did so according to the instructions in the daguerreotype, which were available in English and French. Another person in Tehran was Luigi Poshe; from Naples, Italy, who came to Iran in July 1852 and taught in a military school established by the Italian Matratso in competition with the Dar al-Fonun, and according to the late Dr. Mahboubi Ardakani was later an infantry teacher at the Academy of Arts. He photographed Persepolis of Iran in 1857, this is the first photo album of Persepolis.
According to Mohammad Kazem Mahallati, “Karlian”, the Frenchman who was one of the first students of the Academy of Arts and later went to Europe to study chemistry and returned to Iran as a chemistry teacher, he taught at the Academy for forty years. Mahallati, one of the authors of the treatise on the science of photography, says that Mr. Karlian practiced and photographed in a field which is a kind of photography technique. He was also a French teacher at Dar al-Fonun.
One of the Iranians is "Mirza Ahmad Sania al-Saltanah" who first entered the Dar al-Fonun as a medical student. Later, without a teacher, he learned photography and eventually chose photography as his job. Later, he was sent to Europe by Dost Ali Khan Khan Moayer al-Mamalik and with his support to complete his photography. On some occasions, when Nasser al-Din Shah came to visit the Dar al-Fonun, he would take photos in the presence of the King, appear there and print them, and show the Shah that he would also be disgraced. According to the Iranians, Mirza Ahmad Sani al-Saltanah was one of the first photography teachers of the Dar al-Fonun.
Another is "Abdullah Mirza Qajar" who was born ain 1849, after elementary education he entered Dar al-Fonun and learned the art of photography. He also worked in the photography studio of the Dar al-Fonun and in 1878, he went to the academy to teach photography with the help of Moayer al-Mamalik. In the documents I saw in the newspapers of the Qajar period - I think it was the newspaper of Mars - Abdullah Mirza is mentioned as a student of photography class. Now, however, perhaps when Mirza Ahmad Sania al-Saltanah was the photography teacher of Dar al-Fonun, Abdullah Mirza Qajar was his student; after all, maybe someone who wrote for the Mars newspaper was wrong.
The other is "Mirza Hussein Ali" who studied photography at Dar al-Fonun and then went abroad. Again, we have in one of the newspapers of the Qajar period that a person named Mirza Bozorg, the son of Mirza Ali, was a photography student at Dar al-Fonun. Mirza Hossein Ali Akasbashi was a student of Dar al-Fonun, later sent to Europe to complete his photography course, and after returning from a trip to Europe, he became a special photographer for Naser al-Din Shah; he also managed the royal photography studio for some time. It is noteworthy that royal Photography Studio was different from Dar al-Fonun Photography Studio; The Dar al-Fonun photography studio was on the roof of the Dar al-Fonun, and the royal photography studio was on the grounds of Golestan Palace in royal Citadel. Mirza Hussein-Ali's period of activity in photography was between 1877 and 1889- quoted by Professor Zaka in 1997, page 83.
In Mars newspaper, No. 18 - Wednesday, 26th of May 1880- where the form of privileges, disgrace, badges and rewards that Nasser al-Din Shah gave while visiting the Dar al-Fonun school, it is written that the students of photography, Mirza Ahmad Valad Mirza - a well-established word - is a photography teacher who in the time of Muzaffar al-Din Shah was called Sani al-Saltanah and received an Iranian cashmere scarf and a royalty of 50 Tomans. This is Mirza Ahmad. It is unlikely that he was a photography student here, he was a photography teacher. Next, below the same line that is the continuation of photography students, he writes that Abdullah Mirza, son of Jahangir Mirza, a piece of copper badge and a reward of twenty Tomans; then Mirzabzorg, son of Mirza Ali, a piece of copper badge, costs 12 Tomans. I think here the person who wrote the Martian newspaper, mistaken the place of the teacher and the student, wrote the teacher among the students - this document is in an article called Written Sources of Iranian Art, which was published in the Art Quarterly of the Art University No. 13, 2002. I wrote, on pages 17-31.
There was also a man named "Jafar Qoli Khan Hedayat" who later became the head of the Dar al-Fonun, before he was appointed director of the Dar al-Fonun, he knew photography and taught photography to Gholam Hussein Khan Siddiq al-Saltanah, known as Muchul Khan; but we do not know whether Jafar Gholi Khan Khan Hedayat taught photography at Dar al-Fonun or not.
Who the rest of the Dar al-Fonun photography students were, and trying to pinpoint the photography teachers, is itself a very detailed study that is beyond the scope of our discussion.
In 1878, the Russian Technical Association for Photography was established in St. Petersburg. The same association was the founder of the first congress of photography in Russia, which opened in 1882 - L. Lewitsky was also an active member of this association.
The Russian Photography Association was founded in Moscow in 1894, and the first conference of Russian photographers in Moscow was organized by the same association in 1896, with more than 20 photographers in attendance. Prof. V.I. Kurdyumov (1835-1904), the founder of photography education in Russia (like Dr. Hadi Shafaieh Ma in Iran), established the first photographic research laboratory at the Institute of Transport and Communication Engineers.
Photography was generally taught in Moscow, Kiev, Almaty, Kazan, and other Russian universities.
(Source: The Focal Encyclopedia of Photography and P. 1929)
The first congress of photography in Russia was held in Moscow in 1882, and the second congress was held in 1908 in Kiev. The first international photography exhibitions were held, first in Moscow in 1902, and then in St. Petersburg in 1903. But photo exhibitions were held in St. Petersburg in 1888, 1889, 1891, 1894, and 1898 by the Fifth Section of the Russian Technical Society, which was active in the field of photography. (Source: Ibid: p 1930)
Photographic Magazine "Fotograf", a prestigious Turkish magazine published since 1978 - six issues a year. The magazine is headquartered in Ankara; the Hellenic photography magazine in Greece, published quarterly since 1989, reviews the work of eight contemporary Greek photographers in each issue. (Both journals are indexed in the Ulrich's Periodical Directory)
Dr. Motarjemzadeh: We have researches in the form of a master's thesis in the field of Qajar period. Some of these I think are incredibly good and valuable research. For example, a study entitled "Date of printing photos on banknotes" written by Ms. Simin Agakhani. This research shows that two photos of Nasser al-Din Shah - two photos not design or engraving - printed on the banknote and in Asia - if I am not mistaken - Iran is the first or second country to do so. Also, another dissertation that I referred to at your request, in fact, focuses on the photographs used in the illustration of Iranian travelogues in the Qajar period. This study shows what role the photographs played in illustration - defended by Ms. Fatemeh Kohansal in 1995. This dissertation is also valuable. If I may, I will read only five or six lines of its conclusion: “During the Qajar period, more than 200 tourists came to Iran and published their travelogues. Many of these travelogues contain photographs. After reviewing and studying these works, the travelogues of Madame Diolafova, George Curzon, William Jackson, Henry René Dalmani were selected as the most notable and rarely seen photographs. Madame Diolafova and George Curzon traveled to Iran during the reign of Nasser al-Din Shah, and Jackson and Dalmani traveled to Iran during the reign of Muzaffar al-Din Shah. Madame Diolafova used 278 photos in her travelogue, Curzon 91 photos, Jackson 189 photos and Dalmani 1068 photos. More than eighty percent of the travelogue photos were taken by the tourist himself, and in some cases he bought the photos he wanted or took them with the help of his colleagues. The status of the photographs and their ownership is well known in the case of Diolafova's travelogue, but in some cases in the case of Dalmani and Jackson's travelogue. Most of the topics of interest to these tourists are summarized in the fields of architecture, landscape and portraiture - although some of them have also photographed ancient objects and animals in the margins. "However, in Dalmani's travelogue, due to his rich collection of antiques, carpets and Iranian clothes, this category of works can be seen more and needs to be studied."
OK! This is in fact the first part of his conclusion, and in my opinion, this treatise is a very desirable and good treatise in terms of information and photographs. I had not seen some of these photos myself. However, this means that we have very good student research in this area, which could indicate that a rational and infrastructural perspective has been formed in Iran. This is very thought-provoking, and I felt so responsible that tell them.
Mr. Khoobdel: What do you think about the significant influence of the Armenians in this geographical area, especially in Iran and the Ottoman Empire, and why do you think the Armenians were so active and prolific in these areas?
Dr. Sattari: In any case, Armenians are a minority in West Asia, both when they lived in Iran since the Median period and during the period we are discussing. Armenians are basically technical, active people - we are talking in general - honest, truthful and virtuous, and in my opinion, this fact that they are in the minority in Islamic countries has led them to pay more attention to science and consequently to art, and their talent in this areas; and on the other hand, perhaps their religion is more comfortable with images, photographs, paintings, sculptures, and so on - the considerations of Islam are not in Christianity. In Iran itself, and perhaps for example in Tabriz and Isfahan, the first lead printing books and the first printing presses were imported by Armenians. In the case of theater, the first origin of theater in its modern and contemporary sense was in Tabriz in its Armenian part, and they also started artistic gatherings earlier than Muslims in Iran.
Mr. Khoobdel: Since when has photography in West Asia become known as an artistic medium and found itself as an independent medium?
Dr. Sattari: In any case, this issue requires a comprehensive analysis, for which these three days were limited. I will try to answer your question in another opportunity in another boredom.
Dr. Motarjamzadeh: This is a very strange question, and I may be half-competent in this regard, and that is only about Iran - I cannot comment on other places by reading one or two articles. Regarding Iran, if you mean that photography is an independent and identity media, I think in the 1950s, the context of this event is gradually raised, and in the 1940s, it is realized and is presented as an independent artistic media. Regarding Iran, I can say with absolute certainty that considering the context that was provided in the late 1940s and early 1950s, as well as after the Islamic Revolution, I think that the situation in Iran in this regard is much better than in other countries. As if, at least in our dealings with the Turkish Sinan University of Architecture through the University of Arts - with the Dean of the Faculty of Visual Arts of the Sinan University of Architecture - they were very welcoming of the achievements that have occurred, for example, in our academic photography; while at that time - maybe 10 or 12 years ago - it was still not very well formed and I think the situation in Iran is better in this respect.
Mr. Khoobdel: Dr. Motarjamzadeh's reference to the geography of North Africa and Egypt, and the solidarity - at least in the nineteenth century - of different cultures was very enlightening to us; in the East, too, Pakistan and Afghanistan and their nineteenth-century dependence on India and Iran are of interest to us. From all this we learn that we should not limit ourselves too much in today's geography. You have discussed in your PhD thesis about the role of photography institutions in the form of its acceptance as an artistic medium. Do you have any information about the photography institutions of neighboring countries in this period? And the next question, according to the article of the gray years, what are the most important events that Iranian photography has faced in turning from Qajar to Pahlavi? That is, do you see any differences in the nature of nineteenth-century sports experience compared to some form of twentieth-century professionalism in photography? You also mentioned the issue of oil and its effect on the political and social conditions of the countries in this field; this seems to be a very important issue, as it has been able to influence various types of cultural superstructures through economic infrastructure. I know that talking about this issue requires time for research, data collection, and the like; but because it can really be a research topic for interdisciplinary fields such as economics and photography, please tell us about the possible effects of oil discovery on various manifestations of the photographic media in the region. I have issues such as the presence of foreigners in the region, economic prosperity and documentaries, and so on, or whatever you think could be the potential effects of oil discovery and its consequences on the photographic media in the region.
Dr. Motarjamzadeh: Well, a lot has happened since the Qajar uprising, part of which is the oil issue that I mentioned. When it comes to oil, the debate is not just about oil; in this case, there is also the issue of relations with the Middle East, the construction of infrastructure and other things. For example, a smoky car entered Iran, but there was no railway! Simultaneously with the construction of the railway, a replica of it enters Iran and works. I say replica, because it is from inside Tehran to the city of Rey and apparently in two directions! But what continues in the West (meaning the railway in the West here is the long distance between the cities that connects the railways) according to Peter Avari, the Iranians were 70 years behind in the field of railways, which is compensated by Reza Shah Pahlavi, and this is a very important issue. It can be a reflection of many events that that had happened from the Qajar period to the first Pahlavi. There has been photography in that period, too. I would say that Iran needed a reform called constitutionalism, which happened almost simultaneously during the Russian Revolution and the revolution of the Ottoman government and elsewhere, with a little back and forth. We should had done the same, the feudal system in Iran was not enough. The West needed an organization here to understand each other's language; it is true that since Shah Abbas and even before that period, we have had so-called relations with the West, advisers, embassies and things like that - but the reality is that there needs to be reform in these areas - areas where the owner of goods, genius or however, they had mineral, material, and terrestrial minerals - it happened to change them. For this reason, a constitutional revolution was necessary in the case of Iran as well. You see who the famous photo related to the constitutional fatwa is, you see the foot of this issue of England and the market and the clergy; that is, it's a necessity for that to happen anyway. Yes, Nasser al-Din Shah was a prodigy, but he had to enter Iran politically through another means. Certainly, the most important turning point and difference that the Qajar period finds is that at the end of the Qajar period, an identity is created for human beings as a relatively modern citizen.
I would like to conclude that when we talk about oil and its discovery, it should be noted that this region should have grown in such a way that, for example, they could enter a part of trade: after all, the Middle East is one of the characteristics and measures of oil. Of course, there were other relationships; part of it belonged to the parliament, and there were also printing and newspapers. In the Qajar period, there were art education in a classical form, and in my opinion, most of these reforms are the same rotations that occur and, of course, become more complete in the Pahlavi period. Now this is both debatable and, of course, critical; because many of these were in fact tools of power. So, how Reza Shah dealt with this tool is a very important issue.
Mr. Khoobdel: Please, introduce researchers and scholars (outside of this geography, we mainly mean Western researchers) of this region to us and the photography lovers, as far as you can remember; or introduce books, articles, and special texts written by Western scholars that can be useful for understanding photography in this geography.
Dr. Sattari: I will only mention the names of people who worked in detail on this field in the 19th century and who wrote articles and of course some books. Mrs. Dr. Corin Forman, Mrs. Dr. Perez Gonzalez, Mrs. Dr. Elahe Helbek, Mrs. Dr. Stacy Schwei Ville, Professor Marcus Ritter, who has also visited Iran several times. It is interesting that both Professor Marcus Ritter and Dr. Stacy Schwei Villa of the United States and Dr. Elahe Helbeck, a German, all speak Persian very sweetly and relatively fluently.
In conclusion, I was reluctant to name any documents about some of the photographers who worked in the same field in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and are not known; I found it necessary to mention at least very briefly their names and their geographical area, which, if you saw fit, you could use in some way, or that would be a problem for further research. Dmitry Eermakov is a Russian-born photographer whose archive is currently in the Tbilisi Library in Georgia. He has taken many photographs, both in Georgia and in Bukhara, and for some time in the photography studio of the Dar al-Khalafah in Tehran, probably in the 1970s and 1980s. I had the good fortune to follow some of his works in the Tbilisi library, and also through the efforts of one of my dear students in the Central Library of Tehran, I saw albums of him that may not be similar to those in the Tbilisi library. Mr. Jadid al-Islam also has many photographs of Earmakov in Tabriz. This unique archive of the University of Tehran may have something new. Um Sanekov was an amateur photographer who photographed Khive from the western parts of Bukhara and published a book entitled "Khive Khanat Album". Another photographer, LS Bareshchevsky , is a Russian amateur photographer whose date of birth is unknown but who died in 1910. He was an officer. It has very beautiful photos of Samarkand, Bukhara and Turkestan. It is interesting to know that he took his best photos - which he took in Turkestan, with a camera that Nadar gave him, he retired with the rank of colonel. Now what Nadar has to do with Bukhara and all that, this is a story in itself. It is interesting to know that Nadar himself had traveled to Bukhara and took good photos of Bukhara. Alexander Iyaz is another Russian officer and amateur photographer who also took photographs of Tashkent around 1900. I found it necessary to say these to my friends, because in any case, this Tashkent and Khive, Samarkand and Bukhara, and these are located in the West Asian region, and these photos were taken there. Another scholar, K.S. Bagdasaryn, who worked in Russian photography before and after the October Revolution, suggests that he may have been Armenian. He worked in the technical fields of photography and photographic research, apart from its artistic aspect, and his name appeared very much in the photography magazines of that time.
Mr. Khobdel: As Master Sattari mentioned about photography in Bukhara, Khive, and these areas, as well as the poor presence among Russian photographers, was very interesting. Where can we access these photos? In particular, where can you see poor photos of these areas? Also, where can we get more information about Mr. Bagdasaryn?
Dr. Sattari: The following books have been published on photography in the southern regions of the former Soviet Union:
"Turkestan Album", which shows photos of clothes, handicrafts, houses and architectural works, etc: and the photos which are related to the people of Central Asia between 1870 and 1893.
The "Nationalities of Central Asia" album, which was specially prepared for presentation at the Third International Congress of Orientalists, held in St. Petersburg.
(Source of both albums: Ibid: p 1310)
As well as "Samarghand", "Khive" and "Bukhsra", three independent books, edited by Professor Vitaly Naumkin, Ph.D., born in 1945, published by Garnet in 1993.
I have seen pictures of the poor in Bukhara.
This book is also about photography in Tbilisi and was published in 1948: "Photographic Reproduction of Invisible Things", by A.i..and G.a. Didebulidze (Ibid: p 1311)
The most prominent artist in the field of art photography in the post-Bolshevik era in the Soviet Union, Y.P. It was Yeremin (1881-1948) who has a considerable collection of views of the Caucasus, the Crimean Peninsula, and so on. (Focal, 1311.)
You can also refer to this source about Baghdasarian and other related cases:
The Focal Encyclopedia of Photograohy , Desk Edition , 1998 ,Focal Press ,London & Boston. p, 1305 and 1307