This summer you can enjoy a unique photo exhibition, which focuses on the Byzantine heritage of Istanbul in the city. “Artamonoff: Picturing Byzantine Istanbul, 1930-1947” features a selection of the photos taken by Nicholas V. Artamonoff, an amateur photographer of Russian origin, during the time he lived in Istanbul between 1922-1947.
The life and career of Artamonoff, who developed an interest in photography and Istanbul’s cultural heritage during the years he studied and worked at Robert College, were reconstructed through extensive research. The photos give us a historic record of the city, which since then has gone through a radical transformation that is still going on.
Some of the monuments depicted in Artamonoff’s photographs have been damaged, at times destroyed, badly restored, or hidden from uninterrupted view by the urban and demographic sprawl of the huge metropolis of Istanbul.
They display Byzantine remains not only as architectural landmarks of residential and commercial neighborhoods, but also as integral elements in the daily life of the city’s residents. He captured through his lens snapshots of monuments, archaeological sites, and cityscapes, as much as of tourists, scholars, and ordinary people in a period of fast transition in all walks of life. Thus, the use and reuse of historic buildings and remains, the transformation of buildings and the urban fabric all appear as recurrent themes in his photography.
The majority of Artamonoff’s 1033 photographs are preserved in the Image Collections and Fieldwork Archives of the Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection in Washington, D.C., and in the Myron Bement Smith Collection in The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler (Freer|Sackler) Archives of the Smithsonian Institution. The exhibition presents a selection of these photographs and Artamonoff’s personal documents from the archive of Robert College in Istanbul.
The photo exhibition, which will continue until October 6, is at Koç University’s Research Center of Anatolian Civilizations (RCAC) Gallery in Beyoğlu.
Koç University Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations
Address: İstiklal Caddesi No: 181 Merkez Han
Tel: + 90 212 393 6000