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Naciye Hanım (Suman)

Naciye Hanım (Suman)

First female Muslim photographer
"I said, 'Can I not earn my living?' and decided to open a photography studio."

Date of Birth: 23/04/1881 1881

Place of Birth: Skopje

Date of Death: 1970

Place of Death:

Burial Site:



Naciye Hanım (Suman) Naciye Hanım (Suman)

Field of Activity

"The First World War began and my husband went to the front. I had to support my three daughters, my son, my mother and our three adopted children, my granny and four or five soldiers attending on us in our home. During these war years I ran out of money and was obliged to sell a silver tray, a family heirloom. This prompted me to make an important decision."Am I not a human being? Can I not earn my living and look after my children? Shall we go on living only by selling off our belongings?" The next day I decided to open a photography studio. The laundry in the attic had already been turned into a studio because of my husband's interest in photography. It was a glassed-in room, and when taking photographs, my husband would use a stick to bring down the curtains and thus direct the light.
At the beginning of 1919, I hung out a sign saying "Photography Studio for Turkish Women -Naciye" on the front of Sait Paşa mansion where we were living at Beşiktaş-Yıldız and started working. Ten women came the first day. The women would send the photographs taken in my studio to their husbands fighting at the front."
(Naciye Hanım)
Naciye Hanım worked at home until 1921, moved her studio later to Beyazıt, and the same year an article appeared in the women's magazine Kadınlar Dünyası (Women's World) introducing her studio and emphasizing the support she should get from women
"We have received news of a sister called Naciye Hanım who is running a photography studio for women. It is our clear obligation to commend and support this enterprising and energetic sister of ours."
"Naciye Hanım", Kadınlar Dünyası, January, 1921, no. 192/2, p.11, quoted in: Serpil Çakır, Osmanlı Kadın Hareketi, İstanbul, 2011, 3. Ed., p. 386.)

"My grandmother earned a lot of money from photography. But when my mother married and moved to Ankara and then gave birth, she closed her studio in 1930 and came to Ankara to raise me."
(Sevgi Divitçioğlu)

Photography Teacher Naciye Hanım

It is mentioned in the works of Serpil Çakır and Seyit Ali Ak that Naciye Hanım gave photography lessons to women.

Serpil Çakır, Osmanlı Kadın Hareketi, İstanbul, 2011, 3. Ed., p. 386. Seyit Ali Ak, "İlk Profesyonel Kadın Fotoğrafçımız: Naciye Hanım", Sanat Olayı, Mart 1985, no.84, pp.78-79.

Naciye Hanım Photography Archive

Naciye Hanim's photography archive did not survive into our day. Only six photographs bearing the stamp of studio of Naciye Hanım are in the collection of Gülderen Bölük, Istanbul.


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Contributions to Society

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Family and Friends

  • Mother:(No information available)
  • Father: Salih Bey (pasha)
  • Daughters: Fikret Suman, Nedret Ekşigil (tailor)
  • Sons: Nusret Suman, Prof. Dr. (sculptor), Mithat Suman, Hikmet Suman
  • Marriage: İsmail Hakkı Bey (military officer)
  • Grandchild: Sevgi Divitçioğlu (painter)
  • Husband of grandchild : Sencer Divitçioğlu, Prof. Dr. (economist, university teacher)
  • Friends:(No information available)

Commemorative Projects

(No information available)

Further Reading

Serpil Çakır, Osmanlı Kadın Hareketi, İstanbul, 2011, 3. Baskı.

Sevgi Divitçioğlu, "İyi bakılacağımıza eminim, çünkü anneme nasıl bakıldığını gördüm." Darüşşafaka Rezidans, Mayıs 2011, s.29,

Gülderen Bölük, İstanbul'un 100 Fotoğrafçısı, İstanbul 2009.

Seyit Ali Ak, Erken Cumhuriyet Dönemi Türk Fotoğrafı 1923-1960, Remzi Kitabevi, 2001.

Gülderen Bölük, İlk Profesyonel Kadın Fotoğrafçı: Naciye Suman, Yeni Aktüel , sayı 168,

Füsun Altınok, "Vizörde kadın gözü", rengarenkkırmızı.com,

Erol Çınar, "Yüzyıllık Çınar: Nedret Ekşigil",,

Seyit Ali Ak, "İlk Profesyonel Kadın Fotoğrafçımız: Naciye Hanım", Sanat Olayı, Mart 1985, no. 84, ss.78-79.

Seyit Ali Ak, "İlk Kadın Fotoğrafçılarımız", Gösteri, Haziran 1983.


Quoted Sources
Sources of Visual Images:

Translation into English: Çetin Alanya, Istanbul, Turkey
Editing: Judith Cederblom, Seattle, Washington, USA

©2012 Meral Akkent
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