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Photography and Modernity in the Ottoman Empire 1840-1914
Photography served as a convenient tool to display the empire to the world in carefully choreographed ways. Images selected to convey clear messages were assembled in albums and sent abroad. Two universal exhibitions provided opportune settings for the production of such important documents. The proto-ethnographic Costumes Populaires, an album destined for the 1873 International Exposition in Vienna and printed in French, claimed to portray the “unity in diversity” of the empire through regional costume. Twenty years later, the fifty-one albums prepared for the 1893 Chicago Columbian Exposition offered a more comprehensive view. Chosen from the rich collection of Abdülhamid II, they showed the natural landscapes, historic monuments, and modernity of the empire.