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Photography and Modernity in the Ottoman Empire 1840-1914
The impact of photography as a new technology cannot be fully understood unless one looks into the ways in which it was disseminated and ended up reaching a massive audience. One crucial medium for this was the illustrated press, which appeared a few years after the birth of photography. For technical reasons, it took some time before photography could be directly reproduced; for decades, magazines resorted to etchings based on photographs or to high-quality photoengraving. Even when half-tone reproduction had become possible, some of the major publications, such as The Graphic or L’Illustration, continued to prefer engraving for its aesthetic appeal and malleability. By the 1890s, this Western phenomenon was followed by Ottoman examples such as Servet-i Fünun and Malumat. At yet another level, the illustrated postcard, born around 1890, soon became one of the most effective media for the transmission of the photographic image and its derivatives.