This stream of photographers swept the Near and Middle East in the second half of the XIX century. It is known that up to 1885 in these regions, 250 people were surveyed. In 1850 the first photographers were often wealthy amateurs – are John B. Greene, Lyuitt Hunt and John Shaw Smith. They could afford the cost, not only to travel, but also to classes during travels a hobby – photography. Among them were single, as Louis D. Clerc and Maxim Du Kam receiving the official and semi-official support from various governmental or academic institutions in their countries.
In 1860-1870 gg. Local professional photographers such as Jean Pascal Seb opened a studio in the cities, has become a center of tourism.Seb owned one of the largest studios in Constantinople from 1870 to 1890-ies., And he continually sent photographers in Egypt or acquired negatives taken there, while his collection of species did not count more than 400 copies.
The continuing presence of local professional studios, meeting with local staff whose traditions and language provides features normally inaccessible to tourists and traveling photographers, greatly expanded the range of images of the region. Some of these studios, including J. Pascal Sebah Studio and Enterprise Abdullah brothers in Constantinople, as well as Bonfils Studio in Beirut, have become extremely popular and evolved into an international company, which flourished in the XX century.
At the beginning of the 1850s. Various modifications and improvements Talbot process greatly expanded possibilities of photography, and later the development of highly labor-intensive, but the practical process of treating the wet collodion interested in this hobby a new series beginning photographer. The main value of these processes was that they, from which you can print (and then sell) an almost infinite number of positive images thereby landscape photography has become potentially very lucrative.
A wealthy amateur photographer, Smith could afford to shoot anything that he pleases. The camera he used exclusively to documentary to capture the ruins of the ancient buildings of the past. Among its images have only three or four free landscape architecture, just as in his work can be found only three or four pictures with human figures.
Smith portrayed the landscape in the old way – often at first he was shooting from a distance, allowing construction to show against the backdrop of the surrounding countryside, then came closer, then closer still, making a more detailed picture. He was attracted by the powerful and simple shapes, which he caught in the perfect mastery of the viewfinder, creating the prospect often much more spectacular and more elegant than traditional topographical views. The Dynamic contrast between sail boats, silhouettes, silhouetted against the sky, smooth beaches and calm waters of the Nile forms a complex composition of overlapping each other triangles.
The son of a wealthy American banker, who lived in Paris, John B. Greene shared a passionate interest in many French amateur artists to Egyptology. In 1853. He went to the first of his three separate expeditions in Egypt and Syria, declaring its intention to collect archaeological, historical and geographical information of interest. During these expeditions Green used photographic process Gustave Le Gray on waxed paper and made a few hundred of these pictures by dividing them into two categories: Monuments and Landscapes. Greene died in 1856. At age 24 during his third expedition to Egypt.
Apparently, Greene was either very bad or very good photographer. Most novice photographers, faced with the task of large-scale shooting scene, put the central story so far is surrounded by empty space that emotional impact is reduced to nothing. Every professional knows, by what methods can solve this problem – zoom camera, change the shooting angle for a more spectacular perspective, to introduce an additional element allowing to make work more interesting. So how do you evaluate these romantic and extremely expressive image of the remains of a dead civilization? What is it – the result of bad technique and random coincidence or excellent mastery of the talented young man endowed with the ability to do the opposite and get with the amazing photos?
Lyuitt Hunt was the youngest of five children, in 1840. Brought to Europe a rich widow, which contemporaries called a woman of rare intelligence and strength of character. During the 10 years of the family, all together or in pairs constantly changing, travel and the stress has learned by visiting Italy, England, Switzerland and Germaniyu.Hant, which in the winter of 1851 was 21 years old, educated and refined young man, said a diploma at the faculty of law at Heidelberg University, as it was accepted among the members of his family – he went traveling. During his expedition crossed the Mediterranean Sea Hunt, visited Egypt, then traveled to the country of the Levant and the East, in Damascus. Passionately carried away recently went down in fashion photography, Hunt took a camera and was the first American to make pictures in Egypt. Lyuitta older brother, Richard Morris Hunt, who was destined to become one of the leading architects of America in the XIX century., A year later went behind his brother, taking pictures of antiquity.
Starting his career at age 16 as an apprentice in Liverpool, Francis Frith appeared energetic businessman who discovered and then sold several companies, and with no small advantage, but because already in 1856., At the age of 34 years, was able to retire , who made a sizable fortune. At this time he became an amateur photographer. Frith decided to devote himself to photography while traveling in Egypt and the Middle East: To begin my labors I have chosen two of the most interesting countries of the world – Egypt and Palestine. He bought a steam yacht, and then bought the photographic equipment and materials weighing more than 400 kg – fragile glass plates, lenses, bottles of chemicals and everything necessary for a successful survey. Then he spent almost two years in the often uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous journey.
Frith Proceedings brought him a windfall. Pictures of his first trip to Egypt 1856-1858gg. Attracted attention and have earned a lot of positive reviews. The publication Egypt and Palestine, photographed and described by Francis Frith were the beginning of his energetic activities for the production of art books, and Phryne career in photography has evolved with extraordinary success before the end of the century. Until 1860. Frith twice returned to the Middle East and took pictures in Palestine, Syria and Egypt. With these three trips, he published nine books of photographs. The collection of George Eastman House, Frith kept eight editions, representing his wanderings on the Middle East, and more than 450 photos in total. Frith, who was considered one of the best landscape photographers of his generation, founded the company Francis Frith & Co. By 1870. Francis Frith and other photographers who worked in the company, they took more than one million species in the British Isles and continental Europe. These pictures were published, widely distributed and had comercial success, and later used for the preparation of postcards.
Bonfis Felix was born in 1831. In the town of Saint-Hippolyte-du-Fort in France. His son Adrian was born there in 1860. Felix served in the French Army in 1860 occupied Lebanon – this area like it, and then he decided to emigrate. In 1867. Bonfis family moved permanently to Beirut and opened a photographic studio. Felix often traveled and filmed types Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Greece and Jerusalem. By 1871 the studio has accumulated 15,000 prints and 9,000 made with almost 600 negatives. Maison Bonfils The company has become a major profitable enterprise with branches opened in the Egyptian cities of Alexandria and Cairo, and then even in France. The company recovers its kinds in the 1870s and 1880s. International exhibitions held in Paris, Bryuselle and other cities, and has received awards for them. In 1878, at age 17, Adrian took up photography in the studio, which is ruled by his parents. The company has hired other photographers.
As is often the case in commercial studios, later pictures marked Maison Bonfils company stamp, are more professional in the technical design and less interesting from an artistic point of view. Early images from Bonfils, made personally by Felix as the first pictures of Francis Frith and Francis Bedford (even when they filmed similar subjects), helps us today to feel the thirst for research, feel the energy and love to the new visual medium, which often do not have enough later work their studios.