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i.d.

The photographs in this section were used, as similar ones still are today, for the purpose of identifying people on passports, i.d. cards, licenses, permits, and so on. The images comprising the installation were reprinted from thousands of negatives from Studio Anouchian, which was located in Tripoli, in northern Lebanon. Antranik Anouchian was born in Sivas, Turkey, and fled the Armenian genoicide of 1915, eventually settling in Tripoli. He studied at Vahan Derounian’s studio, taking it over when Derounian moved away shortly before World War II. Like most Armenian photographers of the time, Anouchian perfected his studio skills; he was particularly adept at retouching. Storing his negatives in stock boxes, he inscribed them in Armenian with the year and one of three categories: men, women, or couples. Following a disastrous flood, the boxes were rescued by a collector and donated to the Arab Image Foundation in 1998. Most of Anouchian’s subjects remain unidentified.

Also on view in nearby cases are two portrait indexes from Studio Soussi in Sidon (Saida), Lebanon. The notebooks—termed dafatir in Arabic—reference Studio Soussi's i.d. photographs both visually and numerically.