Stories of exotic photographs of Sebah 0

Neringa Krikščiūnaitė, 2014-10-13
Jean Pascal Sebah. “Nubian”. ČAM

In brief: The exhibition “Aesthetics of Exotics in Photographs of Sebah” surprises by its impact and the created atmosphere. Vaida Sirvydaitė-Rakutienė, head of the Photography and Documents Division of M.K.Čiurlionis Art Museum and the curator of this exhibition, shares her thoughts about the exhibition, birth of its idea and achievement of final aim.

According to her, the story of discovery of Sebah is rather old, when she got acquainted with the head of the photography gallery Domek Romański in Lower Silesia, Wroclaw, Jan Bortkiewicz 7 years ago. Jan told about the discovery of a worthy purchase in some market of old things. He purchased the album at an incredibly low price and when he started going through its pages, interesting views of Constantinople caught his eye.

The album of the end of the 19th century is formed of 30 pages, and its covers are produced from oak boards. The album includes photographs of four photographers: Pascal Sebah (1823–1886), his son Jean (or Johannes) Pascal Sebah (1872–1947), Policarpe Joailler (1848–1904) and M. Iranian. The name of the photographer Pascal Sebah is mentioned among the first photographers in the Near East.

The name of Sebah told nothing to Vaida Sirvydaitė-Rakutienė at that time but when she returned from the trip she saw the name of Sebah on the photography collection in the Photography and Documents Division one day. She made a conclusion that it would most probably be Pascal Sebah. The majority of photographs were marked by the entry J. P. Sebah, the son of Pascal Sebah. The photographs were wonderful. Thus, the idea appeared to meet with Jan Bortkiewicz and to discuss this issue and perhaps organise an exhibition.

This year Jan took the initiative and offered to show the copies of the photography album owned by him. The director of M.K.Čiurlionis Art Museum accepted the offer favourably. At the same time it was decided to display photographs of Sebah stored at the museum.

The exhibition is accompanied by the exposition of Eastern crockery stored in the Applied Art Museum, as the organisers wanted to have some more boat-tailed exhibits along with the flat views in photographs in the exhibition.

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