The Boyadjians were an Armenian family of photographers who documented the Royal court in Ethiopia. In 1905, Belos Boyadjian settled in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital. He became an official court photographer a year later chronicling the life of Emperor Menelik II. After the death of Belos in 1928, his sons Haigaz and Tony took over the business, becoming the court photographers for Negus, later crowned Emperor Haile Selassie.
Often the photographers would take the photograph using poses and wardrobe of the Western elite. These photographs would later be cropped, colored, and pasted, creating a photo montage that displayed the subject at his/her optimal state of perfection. There was also a certain mystique that surrounded the Emperor. Menelik II was thought to be the love child of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. This mythology added intrigue to the photographs.
Interestingly, the family portrait business was not only relegated to the males. Dicky Boyadjian also participated by assisting her brothers Haigaz and Tony, while sometimes taking photos herself.
Dicky Boyadjian would hand-color family photographs