Onnes Kurkdjian the Photographer

Onnes Kurkdjian the Photographer
Onnes Kurkdjian the Photographer
Onnes Kurkdjian the Photographer

Oranje Hote, now Hotel Majapahit Surabaya, is one of the many objects that are well immortalised on celluloid by obscure photographer, Ohannes "Onnes" Kurkdjian. From his nam, like Kim Kardashian and Serj Tankian (the vocalist of System O A Down), we can immediately know that Onnes is Armenian.

Onnes was born in 1851 in Armenia which at that time was an area that was being annexed by the Ottoman and Russian Empires, and also France. The intense political and religious discrimination situation caused Onnes to leave Armenia in the 1880s and never returned. Onnes stopped in Singapore to work for a fellow photographer who's also of Armenian origin. After three months Onnes moved to Surabaya to establish his own photo studio, Atelier Kurkdjian.

Under his direction, the Atelier Kurkdjian studio became moderately successful, employing more than 30 photographers, including several well-known British photographers, G.P. Lewis and his Dutch student Margarethe Mathilde. Atelier Kurkdjian's clients became increasingly diverse, ranging from just ordinary factories to the family of King Pakubuwono X. Although his office was in Surabaya, Atelier's photo objects are spread throughout Java and Bali including the gulali and sot street vendors in Surabaya, Candi Mendut and Borobudur in Central Java, community activities in Bali and Jogja, and Mount Bromo

Many of Onnes's and his team's works at Atelier Kurkdjian were published in postcards and books. Unfortunately these books could only be published after Onnes's death. Onnes died in Surabaya and was buried in Makam Peneleh. Some say Onnes died in 1901, 1903 or 1904 but the Hotel Majapahit itself only was to inqugurated in 1910, so actual year of Onnes's death is still unclear.

Onnes Kurkdjian the Photographer
Onnes Kurkdjian the Photographer
Onnes Kurkdjian the Photographer
Onnes Kurkdjian the Photographer
Onnes Kurkdjian the Photographer
Onnes Kurkdjian the Photographer

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