Robertson: Osmanli Baskentinde Fotografci Ve Hakkak / Photographer and Engraver in the Ottoman Capital by Bahattin OztuncayKoc Universitys Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations (RCAC) will host an exhibition commemorating the 200th anniversary of the birthday of James Robertson, one of the most notable names of nineteenth-century photography. J. Robertson is the first photographer working in Istanbul known to have taken 360 panoramic photographs of the city. He gained much renown with his Istanbul photographs, as well as with the photo series he produced of Athens in 1854, of the Crimean War between 1854 and 1855, and of Jerusalem and Cairo, which he prepared in 1857 and which were displayed in exhibitions in London, Paris, Manchester, Edinburg. A bilingual catalogue accompanying the exhibition is entitled Photographer and Engraver in the Ottoman Capital. The catalogue written by the curator of the exhibition, Bahattin Oztuncay and published by the Vehbi Koc Foundation. The publication contains stunning photographs of Istanbul, Athens, Crimea, Jerusalem and Cairo, as well as texts concerning the works of Robertson and his biography which were researched by photography specialist B. Oztuncay.
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Do you ever wish you could go back in time to experience life during the Ottoman Empire? The focus of this exhibit is the work of British engraver, photographer and painter, James Robertson. It highlights the work Robertson did on behalf of the Ottoman mint, his photography work throughout the Ottoman Empire, along with a small series of paintings he produced showing daily life in Istanbul. James Robertson lived an extraordinary life by any measure. He was born in Britain and worked for the Royal Mint in London as an engraver. Robertson was one of these craftsmen. Robertson worked for the Ottoman Mint from , where he designed and executed 26 different medals.
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It was not his engraving but his photographs of Istanbul that earned him this name – images that James Robertson, Abdullah Brothers, CA.
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Robertson of Constantinople
The photographer and engraver looked on Constantinople with the eye of a veteran expatriate. The first panorama, which was taken in May from the Tower of the War Ministry in Beyazit, consists of 12 separate photographs. In what can surely be described as nothing less than one of the earliest photojournalistic endeavours, they produced detailed shots of architecturally and historically significant locations in Greece, Malta, Palestine, Syria, and Egypt. Widely thought to be one of the first war photographers, Robertson even traveled to Crimea to photograph the fall of Sevastopol in , and further east to document the aftermath of the Indian Rebellion. His photography is by no means pedantic: naturalistically featuring people going about their daily lives with no thought to the alien apparatus capturing their image, they depict a living, breathing city even as they lay claim to no more than historical documentation. Displayed in a lightbox that accentuates the perfect exposure and detailed foci of the 12 separate photographs that comprise the final piece, it depicts both the ancient peninsula and the adjacent shore as seen from the Tower of Beyazid. This and his other images of Istanbul went on to garner much acclaim in London and Paris, allegedly even earning their place among the first photographs purchased by Prince Albert for the Royal Collection.
James Robertson — was an English gem and coin engraver who worked in the Mediterranean region, and who became a pioneering photographer working in the Crimea and possibly India. He is noted for his Orientalist photographs and for being one of the first war photographers. Robertson was born in Middlesex in He trained as an engraver under Wyon probably William Wyon. In , he settled in Constantinople where he worked as an "engraver and die-stamper" at the Imperial Ottoman Mint. During this period, he appears to have become interested in photography.
Though he was the chief engraver at the Ottoman Imperial Mint for over 40 years in the midth century, James Robertson — is remembered in the history books by a different title: Robertson of Constantinople. There he prepared designs, moulds and models for gold and silver coins — as you discover when you enter the exhibition and find yourself facing a wall of mega-sized reproductions. In the early s Robertson started to develop an interest in photography. His images of Istanbul went on to win acclaim in London and Paris, and a selection was even purchased by Prince Albert allegedly the first photographs to be ever purchased for the Royal Collection. He took another panorama from the same vantage point three years later.