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Photography and Modernity in the Ottoman Empire 1840-1914
Soon after its invention, the potential of photography as a recording tool was capitalized upon by a wide range of agencies, from governments to all kinds of scientific and cultural institutions and to engineering companies. The Ottomans also utilized photography to document various aspects of the empire, including industrial investments and building activities. The repertory hence included factories, mines, and infrastructure projects (notably bridges, railroads, and port facilities), as well as government buildings, military barracks, police stations, hospitals, and schools of all levels. If the infrastructure projects shared the universal engineering language of the time, in many cases architectural experiments took on an idiosyncratic character, interpreting local architectural traditions in a proto-regionalist manner, once more celebrating the empire’s “unity in diversity.”