PORTRAIT OF AN ARMENIAN COUPLE IN WORCESTER, MASSACHUSETTS (PHOTOGRAPHED BY ARMENIAN PHOTOGRAPHER)

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One of the wonderful benefits of studying antique images is that they often are remnants of important and interesting history. This cabinet card image is a terrific example of a photographer capturing history with his/her camera. In this case, the photographer was just not cataloging history, but he was part of it. Lusadaran, the Armenian Photography Foundation, cites the photographer of this cabinet card. An article on their web site discloses that Hairabed was a photographer in Worcester, Massachusetts in the 1900’s through the 1920’s. During his photography career he had shortened his name from his given name of Hairabedian. There is no mention of his first name. The article reports that he had likely emigrated to America from the Ottoman Empire. Once here, he photographed the first waves of Armenian Genocide survivors and immigrants settling in the Worcester area. His specialty was taking studio portraits. After doing some preliminary research, I may have uncovered the photographer’s first name. The city directory of Providence (1909 and 1910) lists a photography studio operated by Bedros and Astoor Hairabedian. The 1910 directory notes that Astoor Hairabedian moved to Salem, Massachusetts during that year. This image was most likely taken before 1910 but it would not be unusual for a family photography business to have been operating at two or more different cities simultaneously. Perhaps Astoor had decided to move to Massachusetts to manage or work at that location to replace or join another relative already there. What do we know about the subjects of this cabinet card portrait? Not much. We can only surmise by their dress and appearance that they are Aremenian immigrants to the United States shortly after the turn of the century. The woman in the image is wearing traditional clothing including a scarf covering her head and much of her face.

Published in: on November 16, 2014 at 11:10 am  Comments (5)  
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