Recent Acquisition

untitled (abstract study of arms)Unknown photographer

untitled (abstract study of arms) 1960-70s
gelatin silver photograph, 24.2×18
Purchased 2011

Czech photography throughout the 20th century has attracted great scholarly and public interest due to its exceptional contribution to the development of modernist aesthetic. Early 20th century masters such as Frantisek Dritkol, Jaromir Funke and Josef Sudek have always been a part of the internationally constituted history of the photographic avant-garde. But according to Vladimir Birgus and Jan Mlčoch ‘entire chapters of the history of Czech photography remain largely neglected’. This pertains particularly to works produced in socialist Czechoslovakia between 1950s and 1990.
This untitled figure study by as yet unidentified Czech photographer displays all the hallmarks associated with the last great modernist phase of Czech photography. Harsh contrast, grainy textures and extreme cropping push the human body into an almost completely abstract territory. This was a favoured device by many great Czech masters of the period – from Zdenek Virt to Eva Fuka. Employing a variety of approaches developed in earlier decades, these photographers created a unique aesthetic that transformed reality into a surreal realm. But unlike the classic surrealism, this was not an ‘alternate’ dream or subconscious universe. Instead these photographers expose the surreality unfamiliar inherent within the world itself by emphasising camera’s monocular, liminal vision. In untitled, the familiar forms of arms are made strange and object like. The photographer deliberately disorients the viewer’s gaze by not anchoring the image within space or context. This helps to open new, poetic perspectives on the most known and common form in life – the human body – liberating the perception from the tyranny of ‘trained vision’.
As a fine example of one of the most important aspects of Czech photography – the exploration of the body – this masterful photograph is a significant addition to Lusadaran’s collection.

Conflicted visions: Gabriel Lekegian and the Oriental imagination

Upcoming exhibition project, 2017

Tracing the life and work of the enigmatic Egyptian-Armenian photographer Gabriel Lekegian, ‘Conflicted Visions’ is an attempt to re-evaluated his place within the annals of late 19th century Middle Eastern and ‘Orientalist’ photography.

Although ‘Photographie Artistique G. Lekegian & Co.’ produced some of the best known images of Egypt between 1880s and 1900s, little is known about their creator. Moreover, no effort has been made to properly evaluate this complex body of work that depicts all aspects of Egyptian life during a period of cataclysmic cultural, social and political transformations. A highly successful operator who was enlisted as the official photographer to the British Army in Egypt in the 1890s, Lekegian was also an active participant in international exhibitions, such as the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago. Nevertheless, the man behind the camera remained in the shadows, preferring to leave his personal life unexposed.

Drawn entirely from Lusadaran’s collection, this is the first exhibition that will showcase the immense variety of Lekegian studio output through close to fifty vintage photographs from 1880s to 1920s. These works are divided into two major groups. The early production which was carried out by or under direct supervision from Lekegian between 1880s and 1900s is followed by photographs made in the first two decades of the 20th century when the studio was sold by Lekegian, but preserved his name. Although made by different photographers, these later images were strongly influenced by the overall stylistic and thematic approaches developed by Lekegian.

Ranging from typical Orientalist subject matter such as architectural ruins, ethnographic types to early forms of industrial and documentary photography these commercial photographs remain a fascinating, albeit conflicted record of an Eastern country on the path of modernisation.

Extensive research undertaken over a ten year period will throw much needed light on Lekegian’s prolific career and mysterious biography. An accompanying catalog will be published to coincide with the exhibition. Exhibition venues and dates will be released in 2017.

Barrages Est du NileMarket SellerTurkish Woman in her House

Studio Osep: chronicler of Turkey’s pop culture

Studio Osep Book CoverThe life and work of one of Turkey’s most foremost photographers, Osep Minasoglu (Hovsep Minasyan) has become the subject of a major Turkish-English bilingual book published by Aras Publishing House in 2009. As a studio portraitist and stills photographer, Hovsep Minasyan’s work has a special place in the annals of Middle Eastern photography. Much like Van Leo in Cairo, Minasyan was able to articulate in visual terms the rapidly developing image of Turkish (or Istanbul) post-war popular culture. While the other great Turkish-Armenian photographer, Ara Guller focused on a Turkey that was quickly sinking into the past, Minasyan’s joyful and flamboyant imagery embraces the shifting context of Istanbul’s youth culture, music, cinema and increasingly westernised attitude to life.

Following is the press release from author Tayfun Serttaş’s website.

Advertising Still for a Turkish FilmStüdyo Osep brings into sharp relief Osep Minasoğlu’s 80 years long life and history of photography, one of the oldest living studio and set photographers of Turkey. As a product of almost ten years of research, undertaken by Tayfun Serttaş at Osep Minasoğlu’s archives, the book can also be read as the photographic encyclopaedia of Turkish republican history, with more than four hundred photographs it brings into light.

This work that reproduces Osep Minasoğlu’s 80 years of life memory and 60 years of work memory, is composed of three sections; Biography, Retrospective and Witness. A total of 406 visuals have been used in the book; 253 in the Biography section, and 153 in the Retrospective section. Apart from instances where a source is cited, all visuals are from the Osep Minasoğlu archive. All statements by Osep Minasoğlu in the biographical texts are quoted from the oral history work and transcripts from interviews carried out by the author of the book.

Publishing House : Aras Yayınclık
Book Languages : Turkish – English
ISBN : 978-605-5753-08-5
Edition Date : 344 pages, 1st edition, October 2009

The book is available for purchase from

Rocking Tehran: Karen Mirzoyan’s exhibition opens in New York

karen-mirzoyan-bands-in-tehranNovember 29, 2011 – January 22, 2012

Artist’s reception: Tuesday, November 29, 2011, 7:30 p.m.

On November 29th an exhibition of Karen Mirzoyan’s photographs of basement rock bands in Tehran, Iran, will open at The Half King in New York city. Shot over the week commencing the 31st anniversary of the Iranian Revolution, Rock the Casbah – Basement Bands in Tehran, looks at young men and women trying to play music as loudly and secretly as possible.

Karen explained his motives for creating the series by stating that he “went to Tehran to look at the anniversary of the Revolution. When I found rock musicians practicing in soundproof basements, I found people who are waiting for a second Revolution.”

Karen and Sacha Lecca, senior photo editor at Rolling Stone magazine, will moderate a slideshow and discussion of Karen’s work on opening night.

“Karen’s images—of newspeak broadcasts, daily life, and the surreal, illegal undertaking that playing rock music in a theocracy entails—are a kaleidoscopic sampling of Tehran’s public and private realms as the Revolution is observed,” says curator Anna Van Lenten.

With seven million people, Tehran is Iran’s largest and culturally most sophisticated city. Iran’s Ministry of Islamic Guidance forbids rock music for its western (satanic) bent—a direct threat to cultural purity.

The Half King Photography Series is dedicated to showing exceptional photojournalism. In tandem with its reading series, The Half King fosters a dialog between photographers and writers that underscores the importance of their unique relationship. Co-curating its photography series are James Price, photo editor at Newsweek, and Anna Van Lenten, writer and editor.

Karen Mirzoyan (b. 1981) grew up in Tbilisi, Georgia and now lives in Armenia. In 2005, he worked at Panos Pictures and at The Independent in London. Primarily, his work is concerned with the culture and post-conflict societies of countries in the Caucuses. In 2010, he won Magnum Foundation’s Caucuses Award and a scholarship to the NYU/Magnum Human Rights Program.

Industrial Symphony

‘Industrial Symphony: Photography and industry in a post-utopian age’ is a project jointly conceived by Hayas Cultural Organisation and ReArk Architectural Environmental Centre.