Portraits of Unbelonging (POU)
The “Portraits of Unbelonging” are photographs now stored in the Ottoman archives in Istanbul, taken by Ottoman authorities of Armenians who were permitted to leave the country through the terk-i tabiiyet process in the first decades of the 20th century. Leaving at that time meant losing the right to return, as these Ottoman Armenians were permitted to leave on the condition that they expatriate and never return. These photographs – which predate passport photographs by a decade or more – are bureaucratic documents of exclusion, taken as part of unmaking these individuals as Ottoman subjects. Hence, they are portraits of unbelonging.
The database lists every glass negative that must have existed at some point with the names of all the individuals whose likeness would have been captured in the negative. Moreover, it charts the circulation of all bureaucratic documents pertaining to the terk-i tabiiyet process.
We are working on making the data available on our user friendly DSP-APP. Thank you for your patience.