Photos in family archives contain many details besides seeing ancestors. One of those details is the stamps of photo studios. Some of those studios were so popular once upon a time, and some of them had an interesting role in the city. We checked all the stamps of those studios from our family photos and searched their stories. Here in this article, we would like to share with you the photo studios in our archives from the 1920s to 1950s, with their stories behind, and their addresses.
Honestly, at the beginning of the 2mi3museum project, we didn't have any idea about photo studios. They were only names on photographs. But by time, we learned that some of those studios were unique. We would like to thank a lot to Assoc. Prof. Dr.Adem Köşlü, that he informed us about the studio of Nicolas Andriomenos when he saw some of the photos in our archives. With his valuable information, now we also focus on the studios that our photos have been taken in.
Let's start with Nicolas Andriomenos Studio, and continue with other important studios like Photo Yeni Dounia, Foto Palas, Foto Cumhuriyet, Foto Saray, and Foto Galatasaray according to photos in our archives chronologically.
Nicolas Andriomenos Studio / Beyazıd - Istanbul; 1910s-1930s :
Vafiadis & Mıgirdician Photos from Nicolas Andriomenos Studio
Nicolas Andriomenos was an Ottoman Greek who was born in 1850, Istanbul. As Adem Köşlü remarked in his comprehensive book “Nicolas Andriomenos Photographe (2018)” in the 1870s, Nicolas learned the details of photography in the studio of Kozmi Abdullah. In 1875, he took over the studio from Kozmi Abdullah and opened a photo studio of his own, which was mostly famous for portrait photos. After he died in 1929, his son Athanasios Andriomenos continued this business.
There are a lot of family photos which has been taken in Nicolas Andriomenos Studio in our archives from the 1910s to 1930s. Those photos mostly belong to the Vafiadis Family and two of them to the Mıgirdician Family. Most of those photos were identified with the stamp of Andriomenos studio, and some of them were identified as an Andriomenos photo, with the well-known decors of his studio. It seems like Vafiadis Family had good relations with Nicolas and his son Athanasios or maybe it was just because they were too close to his studio as they took many photographs here.
The Vafiadis family photo above, which has been taken in 1930 is unique as the photographer used a different technic here. The mother and his son are sitting and the father is a silhouette behind. According to our discussions with professional collectors, the silhouette technic is mostly common if the person is dead. But while Vafiadis Family took this photo in the studio, Hurmuzios was alive.
The studio of Nicolas Andriomenos stayed in the same place in Beyazıd for over 40 years. Even though he opened other studios in Pera, he didn't close his studio in Beyazıd. The address of this studio was Beyazıt Kökçüler No:99 (According to 1930 Address Books Sultan Beyazıt 13).
1930 Annuaire Oriental / Page 1079
The possible location of Andriomenos Studio (Adem Köslü, Nicolas Andriomenos Photographe, 2018)
Finally, let's share brief information about Nicolas Andriomenos Studio from Resad Ekrem Kocu’s famous book Istanbul Encyclopedia (1959):
ANDRIOMENOS (Nikola) & ANDRIOMENOS PHOTO STUDIO - Andriomenos, one of the most famous photographers of Istanbul, was born in 1865 in İstanbul, started his career in the studio of Abdullah Ferres as an apprentice. In 1875, he took over the workshop and established Andriomenos Photography Studio which was a reputation in the Metropolitan Municipality. In the last century of the empire, he became the photographer of the high district of the capital. Also, he was invited to give photography lectures to little gentlemen and ladies in the mansions, and the Prince and the Sultans in the palaces. Meanwhile, he had been a teacher to Prince Vahideddin Efendi (the last Ottoman Sultan, Mehmet Vahideddin VI.). He died in 1929 at the age of seventy-eight.
For more photos that have been taken in Nicolas Andriomenos Studio, you can check our gallery.
Photo Yeni-Dounia / Galata - Istanbul; 1920s-1930s :
Akasi, Cakiroglu Families - Photos from Photo Yeni-Dounia
Another studio that we found in our archive was Photo Yeni-Dounia in Galata. There are a lot of photos in flea markets that have been taken in Photo Yeni-Dounia, but there is almost no information about this studio. In our family archives, there are five photos belong to Koskeri and Akasi families that have been taken here in the 1920s. When we checked those photos, we noticed that the background of the studio was always the same.
Photo Yeni Dounia was located in Gran Rue De Galata, No:230, Istanbul, according to information on their stamp. Today, Gran Rue De Galata is known as Necatibey Caddesi. This address information has been found on the stamps of the studio. Below we share two different stamps of this studio.
Stamps of Photo Yeni-Dounia
According to 1930 Address Books, the location of this studio was at No:226. It seems like, after the 1920s, they moved two doors to the left. Below you can see their location on the maps of Istanbul which has been drawn by Edouard Goad in 1905.
The possible location of Photo Yeni-Dounia
Another piece of information that we found on 1930 Address Books was about the owner of the studio. We found that this studio has belonged to Öjen (Eugen) and Edmon (Edmond) Murat (p.1079). Although we searched a lot, we couldn't find further information about them.
Below, we would like to share with you the possible place of Photo Yeni-Dounia on today’s Necatibey Caddesi.
The possible location of Photo Yeni-Dounia
Foto Palas / Beyoğlu - Istanbul; 1930s -1940s
Giuseppina Sanzoni - Photo from Foto Palas
We continue with another studio from Beyoglu: Foto Palas. Even though we only have one photo from this studio, we would like to add information about it, since we found out that they have significant works. The only photo in our archive from Foto Palas belongs to Giuseppina Sanzoni. Here in this photo, she is in her school uniform. When we saw this photo for the first time, it was just a photo with a school uniform. After we search for Foto Palas, we saw that most of the photos taken by this studio were school photos.
Unfortunately, there is not much information about this studio. But on web searches, we found many other school photos on online auction websites that have been taken in Foto Palas. While there is not any other information on our photo, under the logo of other ones, it writes that the studio is across the Galatasaray High School at No:186. During our researches, on one of the envelopes of Foto Palas, we found their full address: Beyoğlu, İstiklal Caddesi, Galatasaray Lisesi karşısında No:186 Beyoğlu Apartıman İkinci Kat.
Photo Palas Address and Stamp
Based on the full address, Foto Palas was on the second floor of Beyoğlu Apartment which is known as Beyoğlu Han today. Below we would like to share with you the location of Foto Palas on Nirven Maps from 1946.
Location of Photo Palas / Beyoglu Han - Nirven Maps 1946
Foto Cumhuriyet / Beyoğlu - Istanbul; 1940s
Aleko Vafiadis - Photo from Foto Cumhuriyet
During our regular photo scans, we found a photo of young Aleko Vafiadis in his suits from the 1940s. It was not in good condition but unique, as it was one of the few portrait photos of Aleko from his youth. Behind this photograph, there was a stamp of the photo studio with its address and the date: Foto Cumhuriyet, Taksim İstiklal Caddesi No.20, 7 II. Kanun 1946.
Here on this stamp, 'II.Kanun' is the old name of the month 'January.' After 10 January 1945, the names of the months changed in Turkey with a law published in The Official Gazette of Turkish Republic. The address of the studio seems clear but it's hard to specify it because the door numbers in the city changed over time. To be able to find Foto Cumhuriyet, we searched archives a lot. In the 1940s, door no:20 was in a different location than today. For example, the door number of Foto Palas (the studio that we gave information above) was 186 in 1946 but is 88 in 2020. We found Foto Palas with the help of the apartment name. But for Foto Cumhuriyet, we were not so lucky. To find it, it is necessary to map Istiklal Street with the door numbers in the 1940s.
Notebook, Letters & Envelopes of Karabet Sahinyan
While we were searching for Foto Cumhuriyet we found the notebook of the owner of Foto Cumhuriyet on SALT Archives. From this document, we learned that the owner was an Armenian photographer, Karabet (Garabet Efendi) Sahinyan, and this notebook was full of names of people who took photos here, between the years 1934-1935. The address information on Salt Archives is the same as the one on our photograph. But in the notebook, the door number is 42. It seems like, in the 1930s, the door numbers were also different. With the name information that we found on Salt, we continued our research, and this time, once again, we found ourselves on online auction websites. On those auctions, we found letters that have been sent to Karabet Efendi, and the address on the envelopes was the same: Foto Cumhuriyet, Taksim İstiklal Caddesi No.20.
* By the way, it is really interesting that many letters and envelopes sent to Karabet Sahinyan are being sold at online auctions. For our researches, we also bought a few of them, but they are all handwritten in Armenian.
Foto Saray / Beyoğlu - Istanbul; 1930s -1950s
Stavros Vafiadis & Aleko Vafiadis - Photos from Foto Saray
Another favorite photo studio of our family was 'Foto Saray', as we can understand from the quantities of photos in our archives. Although it seems like a different studio, Foto Saray was the successor of Nicolas Andriomenos Studio. The son of Nicolas, Athanasios, helped his father in his studio until his death, and then continued this business.
In 1932 Athanasios had to change the name of the studio to 'Foto Saray'. But what was the reason behind it? Adem Köşlü writes in his book that it was because of the Alphabet Revolution in 1928 and the Linguistic Revolution in 1932. In 1928, after the Alphabet Revolution, the companies had to revise all their documents in Turkish letters only. That's why Andriomenos removed Arabic letters from their stamp. In 1932, after the Linguistic Revolution, the companies had to remove all other languages from their documents and had to use only Turkish. Because of that, the name of Andriomenos Studio changed to Foto Saray. Of course, it was not only Andriomenos affected, but Sebah & Joailler also changed its name to Foto Sabah, L'Aigle became Foto Kartal.
Foto Saray stamps on photos in our archives
Foto Saray had three different studios in Istanbul. One of them was in Istiklal Caddesi No:235, the second one was in Beyazıt Square No:13, and the third one was in Osmanbey Halaskargazi St. No:243. The stamps of Istiklal and Beyazıt studios were similar, but according to Adem Köşlü, it writes 'Istanbul' under the logo on the photos that have been taken in Beyazıt studio, and it is the only difference.
Foto Saray has been closed in 1956. The photos of Stavros Vafiadis could be one of the latest works of Foto Saray, as Stavros was born in April 1956.
For more photos that have been taken in Foto Saray, you can check our gallery.
Foto Galatasaray / Beyoğlu - Istanbul; 1940s -1950s
Giuseppina & Celesta - Photo from Foto Galatasaray
We continue with one of the most famous photo studios in Istanbul: Maryam Sahinyan's Foto Galatasaray. As told before, at the beginning of the 2mi3museum project, we didn't have any idea about these studios. But in time, we met with people who have an interest in studios via the museum website. Foto Galatasaray was one of the studios that we've learned from one of the visitors of our e-museum. When we checked our archives, we found a photo of Cusepina Sanzoni together with her friend Celesta which has been taken there in the 1950s.
The owner of Foto Galatasaray, Maryam Sahinyan, was the first professional Armenian women photographer of Istanbul who was active between the years 1935-1985. She was born in Sivas in 1911. She learned photography from his father Mihran Şahinyan and continued his business. Thanks to the important works and book of Tayfun Serttaş, we got a lot of information about Maryam and her really interesting photographs.
Tayfun Serttaş, Foto Galatasaray & Maryam Sahinyan
Behind the photo of Cusepina and Celesta in our archive, you can see the stamp, date, and the address of the studio: Foto Galatasaray, Beyoğlu, İstiklal Caddesi No:172, 20 January 1955. As we checked for this address, we found out that the place of the studio does not exist anymore. According to the information we got, there was a passage in the place of '50th Year of Republic Monument' and the studio of Maryam was on the top floor of the building.
Possible location of Foto Galatasaray / Goad Maps 1905
Here in this article, we shared pieces of information about some old photo studios in Istanbul with the help of our family photo archives. The list of studios that we've created from our family photo archives includes other studies that are not mentioned here: Foto Şehir, Foto Edirne, Foto Şahin, Foto Atelier de Jong (Rotterdam), M.Tatsh (Yunanistan), Foto Ay, and many others. Hope to search them all and share their information with you soon.
Written by: 2mi3, December 2020
* Once again we would like to thanks a lot to G. for her great support by reading this article before anyone else and making the necessary corrections.
2- Annuaire Oriental. Groupant, en un seul volume par ordre alphabétique les 10 pays suivants. 1930
3- Reşad Ekrem Koçu, Istanbul Ansiklopedisi, 1944-1973