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Hayaz Mangoian was the youngest child from a prosperous Armenian family in Southern Turkey. His father was the mayor of Adana, his mother the daughter of an architect. He had three brothers and three sisters. The hostilities by the Ottoman authorities against the Armenian population in the aftermath of 1914 forced the Mangoian family to escape. They reached Larnaca in December 1920, where the father died shortly after their arrival.
In Cyprus, Haigaz went to the American Academy, and later became an apprentice to Leopold Glaszner, whose father was the first photographer of some reputation in Cyprus. In 1924, Haigaz opened a photographic studio in Famagusta together with his older brother Levon, and in 1928, the two started to produce postcards of Cyprus. They then established their company in Nicosia in Ledra Street under the name “Mangoian Bros.” Subsequently, they became widely known, and the British governor, Sir Richard Palmer, appointed them as official photographers to the Governor of Cyprus. In this position, Hayaz documented many important events and sites of Cyprus and its people during the British colonial rule.
Noteworthy are several thousand images of the Famagusta district that were taken between 1936 and the early 1950s. These photos not only record landscapes and monuments that since have disappeared, but also Jewish refugees waiting for their boat to Palestine, or prominent visitors such as the the Princess Mary, Princess Royal and Countess of Harewood in 1938. They are probably the largest visual record existing not only of Cyprus’ cultural and natural heritage, but also of its history.
After World War II, Haigaz and Levon Mangoian published a guide to the island under the title The Island of Cyprus: An Illustrated Guide and Handbook with 140 photographs (Mangoian, J & H A, Eds. Nicosia: Mangoian Bros., 1947). The publication was rather ambitious including statistics on the population and economy as well as chapters on Cyprus’ cultural heritage and history. These were written by the leading authorities in their field (e.g. P. Dikaios, then head of the Antiquities Department of Cyprus). The images include views of the island and major sites, but also pictures of the rural population in an attempt to record what under the shock of recent events in Europe seemed fragile and frail. It was the first major photographic survey since John Thomson’s legendary Through Cyprus with the Camera in the Autumn of 1878 (London 1979, re-edited Trigraph, London, 1985), and preceded many picture books of the island such as Reno Wideson’s Portrait of Cyprus (Deppo Holland, Hague, 1957) and K. Rustem’s Picture Book of Cyprus (K. Rustem & Brothers, Nicosia, 1960). Its importance lies in the selection of sites and views that since became standard in the visual representation of Cyprus. Remarkable is also the incorporation of all ethnic groups that in those days still seemed to share the island in peace (Turks, Greeks, Maronites, Armenians and British).
In the 1950s and 60s, Haigaz Mangoian seems to have limited his work to standardized “post card” motifs and more private views while expanding the business. The Mangoians were, for example, the sole importer of Ilford paper, plates and films to the island at an early stage. Haigaz Mangoian died in 1970. The company still exists and holds an extensive archive: http://www.mangoian.com/gallery.html.
Original photographic prints from the British colonial period are kept by the authorities in an archive in the Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta (T.R.N.C.), while a large group of glass negatives is still in private hands in the north of Nicosia (Lefkosa).
There is a good publication on the photographer by Anna Marangou: Haigaz Mangoian 1907 – 1970 that shows a selection of his best images.
Prof. Dr. Gül Barkay and Prof. Dr. Michael Walshand and Marc Fehlmann from the Eastern Mediterranean University, Famagusta (T.R.N.C.) are currently doing research on the archives from the British colonial period.
Anna Marangou Haigaz Mangoian 1907 – 1970 (204 pages, Greek/English. Hardcover: 24x34 cm CY£ 27,50, Laiki Group Publications, 2001, ISBN: 9963-42-206-3)
(Text kindly supplied by Marc Fehlmann - http://brahms.emu.edu.tr/aah/, May 16, 2007)