Talk: A Camera of her Own: Elisa Zonaro

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Date: Monday, 07 March 2022
Time: 17:00 to 19:00
Place: Villa Salviati, Sala del Consiglio

In this working group event, Alev Berberoğlu discusses Elisa Zonaro, an Italian professional photographer in the nineteenth-century Ottoman capital.

Courtesy of Zonaro Family Collection

Elisa Zonaro (1863-1946) was an Italian professional photographer active in the late nineteenth-century Ottoman capital during the reign of Sultan Abdülhamid II (r. 1876-1909). After her photography education in Paris with the renowned portrait photographer Eugène Pirou (1841-1909), she returned to Istanbul, where she established her studio and worked as a photographer from the late 1890s to 1910. She had an exceptional career as a woman photographer against all odds. However, despite many proofs of her achievements, her name has escaped historical surveys of photography thus far, and her story is yet to be written in full.

In her dissertation, Alev Berberoglu undertakes the quest to uncover the hidden aspects of Elisa Zonaro’s career in photography departing from the photographs, documents, and personal objects in the Zonaro family archive in Italy. This presentation aims to discuss Elisa Zonaro’s achievements in photography and her contributions to the Ottoman visual culture, while also acknowledging the difficulties in researching the subject and writing herstory.

Alev Berberoglu is a PhD candidate in the Department of Archaeology and History of Art at Koç University in Istanbul, Turkey. She is also an Erasmus+ exchange student in the Department of History and Cultures at the University of Bologna. Her research areas include the history of photography in the Ottoman Empire with a focus on gender, materiality, and multiculturality. She is currently writing her dissertation entitled Unwritten Histories of Photography: Elisa Zonaro, an Italian Photographer in Ottoman Istanbul.

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Categories: EUI Events, LGBTIQ WG