[HELIOGRAVURE PHOTOGRAPHY / PROPAGANDA / NEW TURKISH REPUBLIC] Fotograflarla Türkiye = La Turquie en image = Turkey in pictures = Die Türkei im bild

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PFERSCHY, OTHMAR (1898-1984).

Matbuat Umûm Müdürlügü [i.e., The General Direction of the Press], Ankara, 1936.

Original cloth with original orange dust jacket. Oblong folio. (25 x 35 cm). Texts in Turkish, German, French, and English. [17] p. Texts, [154] b/w plates of heliogravure photographs.

Exceedingly rare photograph album printed for the Thirteenth Anniversary of the New Republican Turkey, such in this condition and with original dustwrapper including over 100 b/w heliogravure photographs with captions in four languages, taken by Austrian photographer Othmar Pferschy. Established in Ankara by the new government in the 1930s, the General Direction of the Press featured Pferschy’s work in a large and luxurious format.  

This album is divided into six chapters: Ankara (28 photographs), Istanbul (23 photographs), Towns and Landscape (23 photographs), Archaeology and Art (22 photographs), Economy and Constructive Work (44 photographs), Man and Civilization (14 photographs). The images are fastened by means of screws. This method of fastening has been chosen so as to enable the album to be enlarged organically by adding further images, if any. This work aims to visually document the Kemalist Turkish Republic, which has existed since 1923, and the material and moral realizations it has achieved in 13 years. It is printed at the Graphical Arts F. Bruckmann AG. in Munich, famous for its heliogravure printings. The album, which contains pictures of extraordinary beauty, includes parallel text and captions in Turkish, French, English, and German.

The photographs depict the Turkish women and citizens in “Western” dress and a strong military as the image of the new “Kemalist” Turkey, striking views from the important cities of Turkey, developing industry and economy, agriculture, architecture, etc. to portray to the outside world in the 1930s. 

Pferschy was an Austrian photographer who worked primarily in Turkey. Pferschy began as a well-paid assistant to Romanian Jewish photographer Jean Weinberg, who hired him in 1926. He opened his own Istanbul studio in 1931. On 11 June 1932, the Turkish parliament passed Act 2007 (concerning Arts and Occupations Reserved for Turkish Citizens), which prohibited foreigners from working as photographers. The ruling ended a tradition that dated back to the middle of the 19th century when numerous European photographers moved their studios to Constantinople (Istanbul). Abdullah Freres and Pascal Sebah were two of the most successful foreign-run studios that opened in Constantinople in the mid-19th century. 

Shortly after the ban went into effect, Pferschy and Weinberg traveled together to Egypt. Pferschy was asked to teach photography to Prince Muhammad Abdel Moneim, who was residing in Alexandria at the time. Prince Abdel Moneim was the son of the former Sultan of Egypt, Abbas Helmi II.

After they visited Egypt, the two photographers decided to abandon Turkey for good and move their studios to Cairo. However, just before Pferschy was about to leave he got an offer in Turkey that he could not refuse. When Vedat Nedim Tor, director of the state printing office, failed to find a suitable Turkish photographer, he asked Pferschy to be the official photographer for the institution. Between 1935 and 1940 Pferschy moved to Ankara, the new Turkish capital, and from there he traveled throughout the country taking photos of landscapes, villages, cities, archeological sites, people, and most importantly the achievements of the new “Kemalist Turkey.” The photographs were printed in numerous magazines, books, and calendars, made into postcards, and used on stamps and banknotes. In 1936, the state-printing house featured Pferschy’s work in a large-size printed photo album titled Turkey in Pictures. The book had over 100 photographs with a short introduction in Turkish, French, English, and German. (Schiller). Pferschy’s photography was also widely used in "La Turquie Kemaliste", the main propaganda organ of the period.

As of May 2024, OCLC shows six copies (27325650), two of which are in the US libraries (Princeton University Library, Stanford University Cecil H. Green Library).