Monday, September 7, 2015

Old Photos

I discovered these old photos in the bowels 
of a 19th-century bank in Istanbul’s financial district while wandering up and down old wooden staircases and into enormous bank vaults. These riches were part of an exhibit about the history of the Ottoman Bank at the Salt Galata Museum. I took great interest in all the old money, but by far, my favorite part of the exhibit was the collection of employee photos.

I love the variety of costumes, the masculine and feminine poses, the usage of props such as fezzes, gloves, swords, and canes, and seeing the names scrolled on the backs of the photos. The curtain backdrops added charming tackiness to some of them. I tried to guess the nationality of each person based on their names and appearances. There were Greeks, French, Italians, English, Turks, and Arabs, as far as I could tell. I just wish I could see a fascinating assortment of characters like this at my bank. That would make standing in line a lot more bearable. 

I spent maybe an hour flipping through binders of these photos, snapping pictures of the ones that I found particularly appealing. I love using old photos as aides in my writing and drawing, so stumbling across this bank vault gallery was for me like hitting the jackpot. I tried to crop each one to reduce the glare from the plastic sheet protectors. I hope people who visit my blog find these photos as interesting as I do. 

Carl Sagan once wrote, “One glance at a book and you hear the voice of another person, perhaps someone dead for 1,000 years. To read is to voyage through time.” To gaze at old photographs is another way to voyage through time.   

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