Wed, 6. April 2022, 15:30 - 18:30


Photographer Selim Bonfil's photography exhibition titled "Jews of Izmir and Karataş Through the Eyes of Foto Gagin" will meet its visitors on April 6, 2022 at the Quincentennial Foundation Museum of Trukish Jews. On the same day, between 15:30-18:30, the book titled "Jews in Izmir - From Ancient Smyrna to the Present" will be launched.

The museum will host the exhibition of Izmir Photographer Selim Bonfil named "Jews of Izmir and Karataş through the Eyes of Foto Gagin", which consists of the photographs of Foto Gagin, one of the first photography houses in the city and operating between 1902 and 1968.

Studio photographs taken by Foto Gagin, wedding-family photos, will be exhibited in the exhibition, which can be visited in our museum between 6-18 April 2022, as part of the "Strengthening the Izmir Jewish Community with Inclusive Leadership", known as "Despertar (Awakening) Izmir", carried out by the Izmir Jewish Community Foundation with the support of the European Union. Photographs of the Karataş district of that period and the life in the district will be included.

In the exhibition, you can find the newly released book from the Gozlem Kitabevi called "Jews in Izmir - From Ancient Smyrna to the Present". The book, which is supported by rich photographs and archival documents, includes sections on cultural richness such as what was eaten at weddings, what treatments were applied in hospitals, how women dressed when they went out, what superstitions were, and how education was in schools, as well as historical information. This diversity promises an interesting story to any reader who will take the book into their hands with curiosity… Selim Bonfil, one of the architects of the book, will sign the book.

Explaining that the Foto Gagin Project emerged as a result of a coincidence, Selim Bonfil said, “About ten years ago, my wife and I started to conduct oral history studies on the Jews of Izmir. During this work, I frequently came across the Gagin stamp in family photo albums. As a result of my research, I reached out to the great-grandson of Aleksandro Gagin, the founder of Gagin, in Argentina, and through him to the Gagin Family. They shared their photos with me. Added to these were the photographs I found in various booksellers and familiar families. Thus, the treasure was created. Afterwards, it was left to compile this treasure in Karataş with the perspective of time and space.”

Stating that the work took about 6 months, Bonfil said, “I found many portraits, family photos, wedding photos, images from the photography studio, as well as many photos from the Karataş district. The thing that caught my attention the most is the love and respect between Jews, Muslims, Greeks, Armenians and all minorities living in Karataş at that time. The bond between them was so strong that when you look at the photos, it is impossible to distinguish who is Jewish and who is Muslim. Bonfil added that the photographs in the exhibition will give photography enthusiasts many clues about the art of photography of the period.