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GUILLAUME BERGGREN (Sweden, Stockholm 1835-1920 / act: Constantinople)

Guillaume Berggren The Swedish photographer Guillaume Berggren is one of the few personalities who made a great contribution to the art of photography - particularly landscape photography - in Istanbul [Bahattin Öztuncay 2003, p.291]. Born in 1835 in Stockholm at a time when that city was in the grip of a cholera epidemic, Guillaume set out on his own at the age of fifteen after his mother died and started work as an apprentice carpenter in 1850. He left Sweden in 1855, learned photography in Berlin, and settled in Constantinople in 1866, opening a studio in the Grande Rue de la Péra in the early 1870s. Berggren combined studio work - portraits of travellers and dignitaries, who were given the option of posing in Turkish attire - with the sale of prints offering a range of Ottoman motifs. He photographed the street scenes and architecture of Constantinople, including all its mosques, and the landscapes, ruins, and major religious sites of the Bosporus region. He also recorded developments and events such as the construction of the Anatolian railway, and the inauguration of the Orient Express in 1883. In the 1890s he made a remarkable series of documentary portraits of Constantinople's working people: bakers, street sellers, harbour workers, and prostitutes. His photographs of Istanbul exhibit a masterful technique and composition.

[Megakles 12/2005]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
ÖZENDES, ENGIN Photography in the Ottoman Empire 1839-1919 1987 Haset, İstanbul
ÖZTUNCAY, BAHATTIN The Photographers of Constantinople: Pioneers, Studios and Artists from 19th Century Istanbul 2003 Yapı Kredi Yayınları, İstanbul

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