Database of Armenian photo-media practioners

Garegin Encababian

1900 - 1920s

Garegin Encababian operated his studio together with his brother Harutyun.(1) Their establishment served the Armenian and Christian communities of Sebastia (Sivas) by producing conventional carte de visite and cabinet portraits. More notable in terms of Ottoman-Armenian photographic histories are Encababians’ photographs of historical monuments and scenery around Sebastia. Some of them were reprinted in no.43 issue of the National Geographic magazine in 1923. In 1915, the Encababians were arrested by the Turkish police and imprisoned, but were soon released. According to the testimony of Garegin’s daughter, Turkish officials were convinced that the photographers could provide valuable services to the Ottoman state and spared them from the inevitable perish. It is not known what kind of services the photographers rendered to the local authorities, but they remained in Sebastia until 1927. Seeking a safer environment, the family moved to Istanbul in that year. There Garegin established a new studio, which remained open for only a short period. A few years later, the whole family moved again, this time to New York City, where Encababians’ photographic activity came to an end. The images produced by the studio between 1900s-1910s are very important historical evidence about the brutally destroyed life of Sivas-Sebastia’s large and ancient Armenian community.


(1) The biographical details have been sourced from the Maggie Blancks’s web page, which relays the author's family history and provides important facts about Sebastia and the Encababian brothers. See


American, Armenian, Ottoman


USA, Turkey, Ottoman Empire


Sivas, Constantinople, New York


Encababian Brothers




analogue photography


Low, David. 'Photography and the Empty Landscape: Excavating the Ottoman Armenian Image World', Etudes Armeniennes Contemporaines, vol.6, 2015, p.51

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