A magnificent photo exhibition from May 15 – June 20 is being hosted by the Sismanoglio Megaro of the General Consulate of Greece in Istanbul.
The exhibition, which is composed of a large collection of photographs that capture countless aspects of the most fascinating city in the world at the beginning of the 20th century, was inaugurated by Consul General Nikos Mathioudakis. The photographs on display come from the work of Achilles Samantzis and Evgenios Dalezios and are exhibited in Constantinople for the first time; the album is dedicated to the great city and has been published since 2010.
Achilles Samantzis was born in Istanbul in 1870 and left the city in 1936. He was, without doubt, a typical grand bourgeois of Istanbul and served as the photographer of the Sultan and the Ottoman princes. He was, however, a cosmopolitan without a trace of Levantinism – Europeans and those who aspired to European modes do not appear before his lens.
He undoubtedly adores Istanbul: the entire city, the multinational and multi-religious metropolis, the then many-faced city of minorities. He immortalizes its buildings and its people, its general views, and its countryside, its Byzantine monuments but also political events that shook the city in the beginning of the 20th century. Istanbul seduced and guided him. The photographs have become the city’s own internal monologue, its own reflection, with no other attempts at interpretation.
Samantzis’s eye is spontaneous and internal, directed to an external world that is at the same time a familiar place for the soul. He was always completely genuine, and Istanbul unfolds before his lens exactly as it was.
Evgenios Dalezios, who belonged to the next generation, deliberately tried to save this heritage of memory. He gathered his father-in-law’s photographic collection and added many of his own photographs. He made repeated visits to Istanbul down to the early 1960s, which rekindled his memories and gave them concrete form once more. In this way, he managed to rescue the memory of Achilles Samantzis as an important artist, but also the memory of Istanbul itself, as it was in the last years of the Ottoman Empire.
The photo exhibition has already attracted many historians and intellectuals.
Find out more at the official website of the Greek General Consulate in Istanbul: www.mfa.gr