Qâjâriye and Photography Training; Photography Books and Documents in Qâjâr era
Three years had passed the advent of photography in France when this phenomenon found its way to the court in Tehran and the patronage of Nâser-od-din shâh. The shah was an early photography enthusiast. So he appointed some chemistry and physics educators of the faculty of the Tehran polytechnic, Dar-od-fonun, and some European photographers to train him and the courtiers. However, the necessity of written sources in photography practice was conspicuous. The literature made the king, photographers in the court and other enthusiasts get general information about photography as well as detailed one and provided the necessary and complementary training.
From the beginning of the Nâser-od-din shâh monarchy up to the end of Qâjar period, various texts relating to photography have been written, translated and offered to famous Qâjar kings and the courtiers.
These texts, which were translated from French and English, mostly concerned technical aspects of photography and were considered as guidelines for most of the photographers of that era.
Undoubtedly, documents related to the first decades of the emergence of photography in Iran, had a great influence on developing the techniques, opportunities and some other issues of photography of that era. There are more than twenty notes and handwritten manuscripts and lithographs which are kept in ancient books section of libraries or in private collections.
From then, among published books about the history of photography in Iran, there are only two books in which some notes and books related to photography in Qâjar era are briefly introduced: “The History of Photography and Pioneers of Photography in Iran (Târix-e- akkâsi va akkâsân-e- pišgâm dar Iran)” by master Yahyâ Zokâ, and “A Treasury of Iran’s photographs (Ganjine-ye akshâ-ye Iran) ” by master Iraj Afshâr; As well some chapters of Mohammad reza Tahmasbpour’s book entitled “Nâser-od-din shâh, a photographer king (Nâser-od-din, shâh-e akkas)” are devoted to introducing and researching into some of the ancient texts.
In the present book entitled “Qâjâriye and Photography Training; Photography Books and Documents in Qâjâr era”, the documents are chronologically presented through rewriting and printing the original full texts, aimed at studying more on their contents by other researchers. The main goal of this book is to collect and edit photography documents. Undoubtedly it needs and takes more time to present further researches and explanations about different points existing in these documents; hoping other researchers of the history of our country’s photography carry out detailed researches into the matter.
This collection consists of full texts of twenty two books based on their writing dates as well as some explanations and editions as follows:
1. Futgrafi (photography) (1274 A. H) by anonymous, available in Sepahsâlâr school`s library in Tehran.
2. Aks (photograph) (1280 A. H) by Mirzâ Mohammad Kâzem Mahallâti, available in Sepahsâlâr school`s library in Tehran.
3. Tarz-e sâxtan-e davâhâ-ye akkâsi az Nosxe-ye Akkâsbâši (1286 A. H) by Nâser-od-din shâh Qâjâr.
4. akkâsi (photography) (1294 A. H) translated by Ali Baxš Mirzâ. available in Zâheriye library in Damascus.
5. Fann-e akkâsi (1295 A. H) translated by Antoin Sevruguin, available in Iran National Library.
6. Majmouat-ol-sanâye (1295 A. H) by Mirzâ Mohammad širâzi, available in a private collection.
7. Merât-ol-Baladân 701.3, pages 20-24 (1296 A. H) by Mohammad Hasan Xân Etemâd-os-Saltane, available in Central Library of Tehran University.
8. Qavâ’ed-e aks va telegraf (1298 A. H) by Hasan Lâhiji Najafi, available in Central Library of Isfahan University.
9. Tarz-e aks andâxtan-e Pâpâziyan dar manzel (1229 A. H) by Moein Laškar, available in Central Library of Tehran University.
10. Akkâsi (photography) (1301 A. H) translated by Mahmud Mahallâti, available in Iran National Library.
11. Elm-e akkâsi (9th∕10th decades of 13th century A. H) by Mirzâ Ahmad Xân Sani-os-saltane, available in Central Library of Tehran University.
12. Al-maâser-val-âsâr, the 8th Section (1306 A. H) by Mohammad Hasan Xân Etemâd-ol-Saltane, available in Central Library of Tehran University.
13. Aksiye-ye hašriye (1307 A. H) by Mohammad Meškât-ol-molk, available in Central Library of Tehran University.
14. Ahmad (Safine-ye Tâlebi), the 10th speech (1307 A. H) by Abd-or-rahim Tabrizi, available in Central Library of Tehran University.
15. Fizik (Physics) (1310 A. H) by Abolqâsem, available in Iran National Library.
16. Kašf-os-sanâye va maxzan-ol-Bezâ’a (1311A. H) by Mirzâ Mohammad širâzi, available in Central Library of Tehran University.
17. Akkâsi (photography) (1312 A. H) by šams-oš-šo’arâ, available in Sepahsalar school’s library in Tehran.
18. Kašf-os-sanâye va montaxabât-e Ali-Al-hoseyni, 8th speech (13th A. H) by Mirzâ Mohammad širâzi, available in Central Library of Tehran University.
19. Šo’â-oš-šomus fel marâyâ val-okus (1322 A. H) by Mirzâ Šafi Xân Mohaqeq-os-soltân, available in a private collection.
20. Honar âmuz (1322 A. H) by Hoseyn, available in Iran National Library.
21. Elm-e akkâsi-ye jadid (1325 A. H) by Garnik Xân Dâlakijiyân, available in Central Library of Tehran University.
22. San’at-e akkâsi (1333 A. H) by Monsieur Pâpâriyan, available in a private collection.
Explanations related to individual names, materials and methods (whether old fashioned or not) are shown in footnotes in order to decrease frequent consulting the original full texts. Additional explanations are presented for each book independently, that`s why some explanations are repeated in different sections.
The wrights of the full texts, are observed in rewriting them; however, to make original versions more readable, some editing facilities have been added as follows:
– With the exception of lithographs, texts were not punctuated even there were hardly any full stops at the end of the sentences. In the rewriting I removed the deficiencies as far as possible.
– As Qâjâr writings were not arranged in paragraphs and most verb less compound sentences were connected by the conjunction “va” inevitably the edited texts contain long paragraphs.
– According to Persian literature Academy compound words are written separated, however, most compound words in Qâjâr literature were written unseparated in order to homogenize the texts.
– When necessary a preposition, the conjunction “va” and sometimes a verb has been inserted to the texts. The inserted words as well as some words and equivalents are put in square brackets ([ ]).
At the end, I should thank all those who helped me in preparing this book. Mentioning names of them is the least I can do to compensate their great favor.
Dr. M. Sattari for writing a note on this book .
Mr. A. Tabibian for cover designing.
Ms. H. Haqiqi for rereading the texts and conforming them to main texts.
Ms. S. Naghshbandi for translating the preface to English.
Ms. F. Dianat for providing a picture form Ali Bakhsh Mirza’s book.
Mr. H. Yagmaian for providing a picture form Antoin Sevruguin book.
Mr. M. Hosseini Niya Kolur for guiding in reading some French terms in chemistry.
Dear Staff of the libraries of Sepahsalar School, Tehran and Isfahan Universities and also Iran’s National Library.