Stepanian, Yessai (Studio London)

1930s-1980 (active)
Nationality: Armenian/Egyptian
Place of Activity: Egypt

Studio London was one of the more lasting photography businesses in Egypt. It was founded in the late 1920s or early 1930s by an Armenian photographer named Berberian.* In 1939 the studio was purchased by the Stepanian family and was run by Yessai Stepanian and his sister. Unfortunately, the full name of the female half of the studio’s owners is as yet unknown. Their studio had two branches in central Cairo and also in the upmarket suburb of Heliopolis. The siblings successfully run the studio until 1980, producing glamorous portraits of their upper-class clientele. Their photographs have a distinct Art Deco flavor, coupled with exuberant glamor for which the Egyptian-Armenian photography studios were especially known for. Nevertheless, the London studio’s output was usually more restrained and less risque than the work of compatriots such as Armand and Van Leo.
After selling the studio, the Stepanians emigrated to Canada.

*biographical information has been supplied by Vahe Varjabedian. Email exchange with author, 12.12.2014

Vigen Galstyan, 2015