40 Amazing Vintage Portraits of Persians Taken During the 19th Century

Antoin Sevruguin is one of the first photographers to document life during the reign of the Qajar dynasty in Persia (1785–1925). Born into a diplomat family in the Russian embassy in Tehran in 1830, Sevruguin traveled around the country as an artist and photographer portraying the everyday lives of the Iranian people from 1870 to 1930.

Gaining celebrity status for his photography, he was employed by Nasser al-Din Shah personally to photograph court parties, events, monuments, landscape, and cityscapes around the country. He even went on to open his own photography studio in Tehran, which further popularized the concept of portraiture and family photography for everyday people in the capital city.

Perhaps his most intriguing works are those that depict Qajar-era women in semi-erotic “European” poses, quite an extraordinary occurrence considering the conservative nature of Persian culture at the time (many of the women photographed by Sevruguin were the Shah’s consorts from his own harem).

The photos are further stunning in the sense that they illustrate the kind of inequality and cultural confusion that existed in a slowly modernizing Persian society in the late 19th century. Below are some of the selected works from Sevruguin’s portfolio:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: