A collection of photographer Pietro Marubi has been discovered in the archive of Sultan Abdylhamit II in Istanbul, one of the most important in the world for photography.
Lucjan Bedeni, Director of the National Museum "Marubi" has followed in the footsteps of this collection during his doctoral research related to the life and work of the Italian photographer who ran the activity in Shkodra.
"Marubi's really a fascinating jewel in Istanbul.These photographs, which are reproductions of the originals that we have in our archive, in 'cabinet carte' images as they were called during the 19th century, based on some supports that carry around them ornaments with floral motifs", says Bedeni.
The reasons why Marubi's photographs arrived in Istanbul are within the framework of hypotheses.
"We look for reasons in history. At the end of his life this sultan became paranoid that he would not be killed which forced him to isolate himself. One incredibly original way he found to look at empire developments was by commissioning photo studios. "Pietro Marubi is one of the photographers commissioned by the sultan, so we find the presence of these albums in Istanbul", says Bedeni.
Another hypothesis on the arrival of the collections in Istanbul, is that the pashas who ruled the vilayets, gave the sultan images from the empire. Of the entire collection there is only one part that the Marubi museum does not have.
"The most special, or the most magical, part of this collection, which we do not have, are the oil paintings, with light veils", declares Bedeni.
The "Marubi" museum has 500 thousand negatives. The technique of painting photographs was also developed at that time by the Abdullah brothers, while the images of Marubi in Istanbul belong to the late nineteenth century.