Hurriyet, Turkey
April 29 2013

by Vercihan Zifliošlu
ISTANBUL - Hurriyet Daily News

Istanbul's Tutun Deposu presents a new exhibition featuring life in
Anatolian society in the 19th century, as seen by the cameras of the
Dildilian brothers

The photograph archive of the Dildilian brothers, who documented the
social life of Anatolia during the 19th century with their cameras,
was brought from the US to Turkey thanks to the efforts of their
grandchildren Armen Tsolag Marsoobian and Tsolag Dildilian.

In their archive, the grandchildren have preserved over 800 pieces
by the Dildilian brothers, who made many contributions to various
outstanding archives of the world. Armen Marsoobian is planning to
open a museum with the archive photos in the Black Sea province of
Amasya's Merzifon district. The exhibition, entitled "Bearing Witness
to the Lost History of an Armenian Family: Through the Lens of the
Dildilian Brothers," will be displayed at the Tutun Deposu (Tobacco
Depot) in Istanbul's Tophane district until June 8.

Moving to Merzifon

The exhibition will also be presented in Merzifon. Armen Marsoobian, a
professor of philosophy at Columbia University and Southern Connecticut
State University, said the photos reflected Anatolian history, adding
that their family came originally from the central Anatolian province
of Sivas.

"Our great grandfather used to have a shoe factory in Sivas. Our
uncles encouraged our grandfather when they discovered his ability in
photography. The Dildilian brothers opened photo studios in Samsun,
Konya, Merzifon and Adana along with Sivas. They photographed the
social life of that period in addition to studio photography,"
Marsoobian said.

Marsoobian said the life of his family in Anatolia was interrupted in
1922, adding that he first came to Turkey a few years ago and visited
the home belonging to his family in Merzifon. "On my first visit,
I felt rather uneasy. I also headed to Merzifon and visited a house
where my family once lived. I stayed there for an hour," he said.

Stating that he felt at home in Anatolia, Marsoobian said he was
planning to open a museum in Merzifon with the photos in his archive.

"There is a historic house [in Merzifon]. I want to restore it and want
to bring the photos back to the county where they were originated. I
actually wanted to do such a project in Sivas; but it seems not to
be possible for now," Marsoobian said.

Forgotten History of Anatolia

When asked the reason why they wanted to display their archives in
Turkey, Marsoobian said, "A century ago, there was a rich cultural
past in these territories. We wanted to shed light on the forgotten
history of the 19th century with these photos. If we had not been
forced to leave this territory, Anatolia would be much richer today,"
Marsoobian said.

Marsoobian said various Armenian and Greek photographers of that
period, such as the Dildilian brothers and Abdullah brothers, captured
the 19th century Ottoman lifestyle with their cameras. Marsoobian said
his archive in the US covers more than 800 photos shot in different
Anatolian cities, adding that he spent a major part of his time on
sorting out the pieces in the archive over the last five years.