Paul Nadar. From Turkey to Turkestan. 1890
Photography exhibition of French photographer Paul Nadar

In the given article we would like to acquaint our readers with a well known French photographer Paul Nadar - the author of the unique photo report given during his travel to Turkestan in 1890.

Paul Nadar was born in Paris in 1856, in the family of a famous photographer Gaspard-Felix Tournachon who became world famous under the nickname of Nadar thanks to his gallery of portraits of great people (writers, actors, politicians, philosophers and thinkers of the 19th century).

Since 1874 Paul Nadar has worked in his father's studio where he continued developing his craft in the sphere of portrait. In 1890 he made a long trip from Turkey to Turkestan where his purpose was the representation of photos at the International Exhibition in Tashkent. The result of the trip became one of the first "big reporting" in the history of photo.

Having left Paris, on August, 18th Paul Nadar arrived to Istanbul by Oriental Express; he crossed Caucasus through Tbilisi and Baku, and then reached territories of Russian Turkestan, the territory of nowadays Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. He went round region within two months, at first by train of the Transcaspian railroad, then on a horse vehicle, and brought about 1200 negatives which represent daily routine, monuments, landscapes, construction of the railway and lots of portraits.

Nadar took photos of large deserted areas crossed by the Transcaspian railroad. Today the majority of these lands are subdued and town is stretched far outside from oases.

The places which have been reproduced by Nadar, represented absolutely different picture of 1890. It makes this reporting the huge valuable documentary of region in the end of the 19th century. The same idea concerns numerous architectural buildings (mosques, madrasahs, caravan-sarais and mausoleums); generally destroyed at the moment of his travel and which were subsequently restored.

Nadar took photos of streets, throngs and life on brisk market squares, Cheap Jacks, leisure of nomads and a new city society, families, playing children. He took pictures of local officials, in particular, the emir of Bukhara whom he has devoted the whole series of pictures.

In 2010 the exhibition of 70 photos of the great photographer was held in Tashkent under the name "Paul Nadar, from Turkey to Turkestan, 1890", it was organized by the Ministry of Culture of France in partnership with Fund Forum of Culture and Art of Uzbekistan and Academy of Arts of Uzbekistan. Photos have been made from the original negatives which remained in photo archives of the Ministry of Culture of France (the Architecture and Patrimony Media library).

Inhabitants and visitors of Tashkent had possibility to get acquainted with fascinating photos which serve evidence to that titanic work which was done by restorers at renovation of ancient monuments of medieval culture in Central Asia and Uzbekistan in particular.

We represent some of these pictures in our Photo Gallery >>>.

More useful links:
  • The Tashkent House of Photography   >>>
  • The "Anthology of 125 years of Uzbek photography"   >>>
  • Photo Gallery of   >>>
  • Museums and Galleries of Tashkent   >>>
  • Tashkent theatres   >>>
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