Abdullah Freres (Studio)

1858-1899 (studio)
Nationality: Armenian/Ottoman
Place of Activity: Egypt/Ottoman Empire

Abdullah Frères, three Ottoman Armenian brothers Vichen (1820–1902), Hovsep (1830–1908) and Kevork Abdullah (1839–1918) who ran a profitable studio in Constantinople with other locations in Cairo and Izmir. In 1862 the three brothers were named official royal photographers to the courts of the Sultans Abdul Aziz and Abdul Hamid II, and had the right to use the royal monogram.

While official royal photographers to the Sultans they were commissioned to document the Ottoman Empire in photographs. The work appears to have been conceived by the sultan as a portrait of his empire for the 1893 World Columbian Exposition, but was not exhibited there. It dwells on the accomplishments and westernizing improvements of the regime, such as the well drilled and equipped military, the technologically advanced lifesaving and fire fighting brigades, customs bureaucracy, and life at the lavish Imperial court. A copy of the survey was presented by Sultan Abdul-Hamid to the Library of Congress in 1894. (Gift of H.I.M. the Sultan Abdul Hamid II)

They also sold various views of Egypt and the Middle East to tourists through their studios. In 1899 they sold their business and collection to Sebah and Jollier, which led ultimately to confusion of manufacture from the two studios, since later photographs from Abdullah Frères negatives are embossed with the Sebah and Jollier back stamp.