ZANGAKI BROTHERS (active 1870s–1900s)
The Zangaki brothers produced some of the finest im- ages of late Victorian Egypt, yet so little is known about them. They were probably Greek Cypriots, although it has been suggested they may have come from Crete. Nothing is known of them before their first photographs were published in Egypt in the late 1870s, and even the names of the brothers themselves is unknown. It has been suggested their initials were ‘C’ and ‘G,’ and in- deed early 20th century photographic postcards bearing the name ‘C Zangaki’ have been located.
Their photographs, however, were simply identified as ‘Zangaki,’ the letter ‘Z’ being frequently mistaken for a stylised ‘L’ in several books, resulting in their work being incorrectly ascribed to ‘Langaki.’ Indeed, until relatively recently, there was assumed to be one photographer with the name of ‘A Zangaki’ until the discovery of a signboard bearing the legend ‘Adelphoi Zangaki’ confirmed that the images were the work of brothers.
While their Greek—Cypriot or Cretan—roots are con- firmed, the horse-drawn darkroom van with which they toured the length of the Nile bore the legend ‘Zangaki Brothers,’ and to further confuse matters, the majority of their images are titled (in the negatives) in French.
Amongst many fine images are photographs taken after the bombardment of Alexandria in 1882, and some eloquent commentaries on the popularity of the Grand Tour of Egypt in the 1880s.
ZEISS, CARL (1816–1888)
The name of Carl Zeiss is synonymous with quality photographic optics, and has been for well more than a century and a half. Throughout the twentieth century,
cameras fitted with Zeiss optics were used by the major figures in photography. But during Carl Zeiss’s lifetime, the company made its name through the design and manufacture of the highest quality microscopes.
However, it is to Zeiss and his associates that we owe the emergence of the science of optical design and manufacture—a science which had a direct and enduring impact on the development of photographic lenses.
Carl Zeiss himself was born in Weimar on 11 Sep- tember 1816, and apprenticed to Dr Friedrich Körner, a microscope and scientific instrument maker, before opening his own workshop in 1846, repairing optical and scientific equipment. After Körner’s death in 1847, Zeiss took over some of his former employer’s business interests, developing the first ‘compound microscope’ in that same year. It is recorded that in his first year of operation, he sold twenty-three microscopes! Twenty years later he sold his one thousandth, and a further twenty years later, 1886, saw the ten thousandth mi- croscope sold!
1866 was a key year for Zeiss and marked the begin- ning of his working relationship with Dr. Ernst Abbe, then a physics lecturer at the University of Jena. With Abbe, Zeiss would become a major player in lens manu- facture, and the Zeiss Optical Works, established in that same year, soon had Abbe as its Director of Research. The marriage of Zeiss’s manufacturing experience, and Abbe’s scientific understanding proved pivotal. Be- tween them, the two men would develop the design and manufacture of high quality lenses into a precise science where, as Abbe noted, lens design was based on
‘a precise study of the materials used, [and] the designs concerned are specified by computation to the last de- tail—every curvature, every thickness, every aperture of a lens—so that any trial and error approach is excluded.’
Within six years the company had developed a significant number of new microscope lenses, all based on Abbe’s theoretical research and mathematical modelling. They combined high quality, large apertures, colour accuracy and minimal distortion—all essential characteristics in a microscope lens.
In 1881, Abbe met Dr. Friedrich Otto Schott, who had achieved his doctorate in glass science a few years earlier. Combining Abbe’s scientific approach with Schott’s researches into the manufacture of high quality mineral-rich glasses—using phosphorus, lithium and boron—paved the way for the development a whole new generation of lenses, including the first apochromatic (or fully colour-corrected) lenses, eliminating chromatic aberration, the bane of microscope users. Before then, achromats had been corrected for only two of the three primary colours.
Schott and Associates Glass Technology Laboratory, a partnership between Zeiss and Schott, was formed in 1884. With Abbe’s scientific approach applied to the manufacture of glasses, and the introduction of new and precisely computed ingredients, over a hundred new types of glass were developed. Zeiss lenses by the 1880s were recognised the world over for their optical purity and accuracy.
Carl Zeiss died in 1888 and control of the Zeiss Opti- cal Works passed to Abbe, who had been a partner since the mid 1870s. In the following year Abbe transferred ownership of the company to the Carl Zeiss Foundation, together with their interests in Schott’s glassworks. The purpose of the foundation was to fund research, and also to initiate social and workplace reforms. It is reported that by 1900, Zeiss workers enjoyed profit-sharing, an eight hour working day, paid annual holidays, a basic health-care plan, and retirement pension. A century ago such benefits was revolutionary.
The first years after Carl Zeiss’s death saw the com- pany develop a series of camera lenses which were to endure for a century and more. The Zeiss Planar (1896) and Tessar (1902) are perhaps the most long-lived lens designs in the history of photography.
ZIEGLER, JULE (1804—1856)
Jule Ziegler was a celebrated painter of the July Mo- narchy, ceramist, and photographer. His contribution to photography is manifold. Of an inventive spirit, Jules
Ziegler performed many experiments on techniques, optics, and color. From the early 1840s, he was devoted to the daguerreotype and improved its coloring. In 1851, he was one of the first in France to use wet collodion. The same year, he joined the management committee of the Société heliographique and he was awarded a certificate for his photography at the Great Exhibition at the Crystal Palace, London 1851. He wrote many articles for La Lumière and a report on photography for the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1855. Ziegler’s work exhib- ited similarities with that of his friend Hippolyte Bayard, who did his portrait with the daguerreotype in 1844 (SFP), as well as with the topics of the compositions: still lifes, sculptures, reproductions of antiques (Venus de Milo), and views of his garden. He used photography to emphasize his work as ceramist; sandstone vases of his manufacture are reproduced in several negatives (girl in front of the Vase with the twelve apostles). The museum of Langres preserved a set of his photographs, including compositions with sculptures and vases and the Pallet of the painter.
ZILLE, HEINRICH (1858–1929)
Heinrich Zille was a draughtsman and famous Berlin engraver, author of albums, and collaborator of satirical newspapers. In about 1887, he started photography as a way to aid. He initially photographed his family, then chronicled the proletariat with a series of the women at the market, men returning home from work, children in the streets, and fairs. He also took portraits of artists in their workshops and he completed nude studies as well. By 1914, he took hundreds of negatives on glass plates of gelatine-bromide. Zille never published his photographs, which he regarded as working tools. Discovered in the 1960s, they were appreciated for their modernity: instantaneous with the characters captured in full action, sometimes seen from the back, walking. His images also had a persistent fl at spaces, inscriptions, and lines that created dynamic effects (crossroads, scaffolding).
Through his unique artistic eye, Zille drew attention to the grounds, the palisades, and the walls thought to be common. His images of the poor district, Krögel were described as having direct vision, without an aesthetic research or anecdote. Dependent on the Berliner Secession, Zille always remained outside of any aesthetic contemporary category. If his work is connected with naturalism, it is only because he approached the expressionists by simplifying the human form to the point of making a prototype of it. The originality of his vision on certain topics (shops) was pointed out by Eugene Atget.
These images in fact are documents of great value on the social dimension of Berlin in 1900.
ZOLA, EMILE (1840–1902)
“In my view you cannot claim to have seen something until you have photographed it.” This is a rather curious sentiment, since it came from its author, Emile Zola, after most of his incredible writing career, which was largely based on good old-fashioned visits, conversations, and note-taking, was over. Zola was virtually a writing machine who became famous by turning out mostly great and in any case best-selling novels at the rate of more than one per year for more than 30 years. He wrote many of them for serialization, keeping just ahead of their journal publication, and then they were published as books. The biggest project was Les Rougon- Macquart, a more than 20 volume set of familial and social disasters that ran from 1871-93. He novelized the urbanization and modernization of France. He also wrote many journal articles, essays, criticism, and plays. A number of his books were successfully put on stage.
Zola became friends with Cezanne as a youth, with many of the Impressionists, and with Nadar (Felix Tournachon), Petit, Carjat, and other photographers in the 1860s. Nadar took many portraits of him between 1876 and 1898. Zola apparently took up photography on a particular trip in 1888, but did not start taking photographs seriously until 1894, and took perhaps 5000 images up to his murder in 1902. He was passionate about photography in writing and in speaking. He collected about a dozen cameras, including large and small formats, stereo and panoramic equipment. He did his own darkroom work, from mixing his photochemistry to enlarging and printing. His subjects included portraits, mostly of his family, especially his paramour and their children; his wife; some friends, and then landscapes, railroad scenes, street scenes in Paris and London, and the Paris World’s Fair of 1900. He considered himself a
member of the naturalist (or realist) school in his writing, and that is refl ected in his photographic compositions. One of his best photos of Paris, of Place Prosper-Goubaux on a rainy day, shows from its camera angle, mistiness, shadows, carriages, pedestrians and buildings strong similarity to Caillebotte’s famous painting, Rue de Paris, temps de pluie (Paris street in Rainy Weather, 1877). It is extremely likely Zola had seen the painting and knew Caillebotte.
Zola also publicly and famously defended Capt. Alfred Dreyfus after he was unjustly and falsely accused of treason. In 1898 Zola wrote a front page open letter to the French President in the Paris newspaper L’aurore, under the banner “J’accuse...!” that ripped apart the Army’s case. Zola was tried and convicted of slandering the Army, and fl ed to exile in England for 11 months, where he continued to photograph. Zola returned in 1899. Dreyfus was tried and convicted again, but almost immediately pardoned by the President and reinstated by the Army. In the 1920s a stove fitter confessed on his death bed to stuffing the chimney of Zola’s country house one night. Carbon monoxide killed him in his sleep.