Photography and Modernity in the Ottoman Empire 1840-1914
From its birth in 1839, photography has participated in modernity as much as it has symbolized it. Its capacity to record and display, and its claim to accuracy and truth intricately linked the new technology to the dynamism of the modern world. The Ottoman Empire embraced photography with great enthusiasm. In fact, the impact and meaning of photography were further reinforced by the thrust of modernization and westernization of the Tanzimat movement. By the turn of the century, photography in the Ottoman lands had become a standard feature of everyday life, of public media, and of the state apparatus.
This exhibition explores some of the most striking aspects of the close connection between photography and modernity in the specificity of the Ottoman Empire. Much of the material concerns the display of modernity through photography, as was so often the case in the photographs and albums commissioned by the Sultan to showcase his empire for Western audiences. Nevertheless, modernity was often embedded in the photographic act, transforming it into a common and mundane practice. Be it in the form of images disseminated through the illustrated press, postcards sent out to family members or anonymous collectors, portraits presented to friends and acquaintances, or pictures taken of employees and convicts, photography had started to invade practically every sphere of public and private life.
The visual world we live in today was born some 150 years ago. Camera Ottomana is both a homage to, and a critical assessment of, the local dimension of one of the most potent and transformative technological inventions of the recent past. 
Zeynep Çelik, Edhem Eldem, Bahattin Öztuncay
Project Coordination 
Buket Coşkuner, Ebru Esra Satıcı, Şeyda Çetin
Exhibition Design
Cem Kozar, Işıl Ünal
Oya Çitçi, Lysann Gahmig, Gizem Fidan, Gamze Özcan
Motion Graphics
Hürcan Emre Yılmazer
Interactive Systems
Selçuk Artut, Alp Tuğan, Filika Tasarım
Exhibition Production 
Güven Mobilya
Sani Karamustafa
Fuar Led
Zafer Cam
Lamarts, 3T Reklam
Murat Akar, Hadiye Cangökçe
Ayşen Gür, Hande Eagle
Betül Kadıoğlu, Karen Zahorchak 
Project Assistant
Ceyda Yüksel
Special thanks to Ömer M. Koç for his generous support.
T.C. Başbakanlık Osmanlı Arşivi
The British Library
Cinematheque of Macedonia
ESR Film Yapım Tanıtım
J. Paul Getty Museum
İstanbul Büyükşehir Belediyesi Atatürk Kitaplığı
İstanbul Üniversitesi Merkez Kütüphanesi
Sinan Kuneralp
T.C. Kültür ve Turizm Bakanlığı Milli Kütüphane
SALT Araştırma 
Unless otherwise stated all materials are from the Ömer M. Koç Collection.