Biography and History

Pascal Sebah (1823-1886) was a leading photographer in Constantinople, selling images of the city, ancient ruins in the surrounding area, portraits, and local people in traditional costumes to tourists. Sebah rose to prominence because of his well-organized compositions, careful lighting, effective posing, attractive models, great attention to detail, and for the excellent print quality produced by his technician, A. Laroche. In 1857, Sebah opened a studio in Constantinople and later opened another branch in Cairo. After Sebah's death, his brother Cosimi ran the studio for a few years. Sebah's son, Johannes (Jean) (1872-1947) then became involved in the business when he was only 16 years old. Jean grew up to become a talented photographer in his own right, but to profit from his father’s fame, he signed his photographs J. Pascal Sebah. In 1888, Jean formed a partnership with a Frenchman, Policarpe Joaillier, and thereafter the studio was known as Sebah & Joaillier. The firm of Sebah & Joaillier was named the official photographer of the Sultan, and at his command took photographers all over his empire.

Source: From the finding aid for C0982