The collector is the true resident of the interior. The collector dreams his way not only into a distant or bygone world but also into a better one.
- Walter Benjamin
Pascal Sebah was a pioneering photographer in Istanbul in the second half of the 19th century. He is best known for the way he catalogued the many ethnicities and professions common at that time in the Ottoman Empire, which he compiled into an album called Les Costumes Populaires de la Turquie, commissioned by the Turkish artist Osman Hamdi Bey for the Ottoman exhibition in Vienna. The album won awards from the organizers of the Vienna exhibition as well as from the Ottoman Sultan Abdulaziz. The photos are especially fascinating as they capture the diversity of the Ottoman Empire in the twilight period before its demise. They are also great photos which stand in their own right. For more pictures by Pascal Sebah, click here.