Odds and quads

These pictures of women - one wearing a blue silk headdress, the other displaying her gold engagement jewellery and hennaed hands - were taken in rural Turkey in the 1980s.

August 23, 2012

Both come from an archive of around 28,000 slides and 30 fieldnote books donated by the American ethnographer and photographer Josephine Powell to Koç University near Istanbul.

Powell (1919-2007) visited Turkey in 1955 to photograph Byzantine mosaics and became the first foreigner, after the foundation of the Republic in 1923, to be allowed to drive right across the country.

Her passion for flat-woven textiles led her to establish a women's cooperative to revive the use of natural dyes and revitalise the production of traditional Western Anatolian carpets. She went on to document the region's fast-disappearing nomadic ways of life.

All Powell's photographs are now held by Koç's Research Center for Anatolian Civilizations in central Istanbul. Eighty of the images are on display until October as part of an exhibition opening the centre's new gallery, What Josephine Saw: a photographic look at 20th-century rural Anatolia.

Send suggestions for this series on the treasures, oddities and curiosities owned by universities across the world to matthew.reisz@tsleducation.com.

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