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The Gorgeous Egyptian Photography Produced By The Zangaki Brothers In The Late 1800s



The Zangaki brothers were a pair of Greek photographers operating in Egypt during the late 1870s to the 1890s, crafting prints tailored for the burgeoning tourist market. Despite creating some of the era's most exquisite depictions of Victorian Egypt, scant details are available about their lives.

While they are presumed to be Greek Cypriots, speculation exists that they hailed from Crete. Prior to the emergence of their photographic works in Egypt, little is documented about their backgrounds, including their actual names.



It has been proposed that their initials were "C" and "G", supported by the discovery of early 20th-century photographic postcards bearing the name "C Zangaki". According to Alkis X. Xanthakis in his work "Zangaki Brothers" (Optikon, 1995), the siblings hailed from Milos, a Greek island, and were named Georgios and Konstantinos.

However, their photographs were commonly attributed simply to "Zangaki". Compounding this, the letter "Z" in their signature was frequently misinterpreted as a stylized "L" in various publications, leading to their work being mistakenly credited to "Langaki".



Until fairly recently, the assumption prevailed that there was a single photographer known as "A Zangaki". However, this changed with the discovery of a signboard inscribed with "Adelphoi Zangaki", confirming that the photographs were indeed the collaborative efforts of the Zangaki brothers.



While their Greek, Cypriot, or Cretan origins are affirmed, they travelled along the Nile with a horse-drawn darkroom labelled "Zangaki Brothers". Adding to the complexity, the majority of their images were titled in French on the negatives.

Among their notable works are photographs captured after the 1882 bombardment of Alexandria, along with insightful reflections on the popularity of the Grand Tour of Egypt during the 1880s.


Their portfolio encompassed diverse scenes, ranging from views of the pyramids like Cheops and the Sphinx to urban landscapes such as Suez or Alexandria. Additionally, they depicted Egyptians engaged in daily activities, including a teacher with pupils, men along the Nile, and women at home.















 


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