The Image of Naples in Sultan Abdülhamid II’s Photography Collection

Dr. Alev Berberoğlu

The research project seeks to understand how the multi-layered cultural heritage of the Italian city of Naples was represented in the photography collection of Abdülhamid II who reigned from 1876 to 1909 as the sultan of the Ottoman Empire. It aims to shed light on the image of Naples that emerges in Abdülhamid II’s collection, also called the Yıldız Palace Photography Albums, at the intersection of scientific pursuits and aesthetic pleasures. The photographs from Naples and its outlying areas deserve an in-depth examination not only because of their aesthetic value but also because of their cultural significance and informative aspect as visual documents at a time when there was a growing professional interest in archaeology and museology on the part of the Ottoman State. The project aims to illustrate how photographs from abroad were effective in transmitting visual information about distant geographies, propagating certain ideas and/or ideals through image-making and distributing processes, and stimulating cultural dialogues between the Ottoman Empire and Italy at the turn of the twentieth century.

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