TWO YOUNG WOMEN POSE FOR PORTRAIT IN MARAS, TURKEY : SLIGHTLY AFTER THE ARMENIAN MASSACRE (1922)

This vintage real photo postcard features two young woman photographed by a studio in Maras, Turkey. Before 1973, the city was named Kahramanmaras. Maras was part of the Ottoman Empire. During War I the empire allied with Germany. In 1919, post war, Maras was occupied by British, and later, French troops. After the “Battle of Marash” (1920), the Turkish National Movement took control. The Battle of Marash was fought between the Turkish National Forces and French forces occupying Maras. It was first major battle of the Turkish War for Independence. The battle caused the French to retreat and abandon Maras. A consequence of the withdrawal of French troops was the Turkish massacre of Armenian refugees who were just repatriated to Maras following the Armenian Genocide. It is believed that between 5,000 and 12,000 Armenians were killed in Maras after the withdrawal. According to the stamp on the reverse of the card, this postcard photograph was taken in 1922. One wonders if the two women/girls seen in this image are Armenian or Turkish. If they are Armenian, imagine how traumatized they must have been considering it was only two years after the massacre occurred. The subjects of this photo are a study in contrast. The girl in the dark dress shows a lot of emotion. She looks troubled or frightened. The woman dressed in the light dress appears void of emotion. Her affect seems very flat. The pair are posed standing on a pretty rug with a background of another rug. I have never seen a photo portrait staged this way. (SOLD)

PORTRAIT OF A LOVELY COUPLE IN ANDRINOPLE, TURKEY (POSSIBLY ARMENIAN ETHNIC ORIGIN)

This cabinet card features a lovely couple posing for their portrait at a studio in Andrinople, Turkey. The pair are attractive and well dressed. The gentleman has a handlebar mustache. Is this couple of Armenian origin? It would be so interesting to know more about this couple, but that is an impossibility. The name of the photographer who photographed this image is L. Nicolaou. Preliminary research revealed that the name “Nicolaou” is a surname that can be found in multiple cultures and languages (including Portuguese and Romanian). In addition, the name is also found in Cyprus. This information indicates that the photographer was probably from Bulgaria, Greece or Cyprus; but operating his studio in Turkey. The city of Andrinople is also known by other names, including Edirne (Greek). The city is located in northwestern Turkey, and close to Turkey’s borders with Greece and Bulgaria. Edirne was once the capital city of the Ottoman Empire. In 1928, Edirne replaced Adrianople as the name of the city. Edirne has been the site of numerous battles through history. Some consider Edirne to be the most frequently contested location in the world. A battle that occurred near the time that this photograph was taken is “The Siege of Adrianople” (1912-1913) which was a battle fought during the First Balkan War. An article in Wikipedia states that in 1905, the city had 80,000 inhabitants comprised of 30,000 Turks, 22,000 Greeks, 12,000 Jews, 10,000 Bulgarians, 4,000 Armenians, and 2,000 people of unknown origin.