Reimagining a Lost Armenian Home: The Dildilian Photography Collection
Marsoobian, Armen T.
I.B. Tauris & co., 2017, 224 pages. ISBN 978-1-35098-776-0.
For nearly a century, members of the Dildilian family practiced the art of photography in Ottoman Turkey, Greece and the United States. This book contains over 300 photographs, most taken during the Ottoman era. The photos record a crucial half century of Armenian culture, with the earliest dating from 1888, when Tsolag Dildilian opened and operated the family business in central Anatolia, first in Sivas and later in Marsovan and Samsun, and the last taken in late 1930s Greece after the family's forced exile from their homeland in 1922. The photographs and the stories that unfold around them capture a defining period in the nearly 3,000-year history of the Armenians in Anatolia and the Armenian Highlands. The early- twentieth century witnessed the violent erasure of the Armenians from their historic homeland, with catastrophic effects for the Dildilian family and their community. Yet this was also a period of unprecedented educational, cultural and commercial development for the Armenians. The Dildilian family was intimately involved in the triumphs and tragedies of these years and this book, through its rich pictorial history, sheds unprecedented light on the real-life experiences of Armenians in the devastating years of the Armenian Genocide and beyond. It is an unusual and original contribution to the social history of the Near East.