He was always with his camera
said Kahvedjian’s grandson, also named Elia, who now runs the shop that his grandfather started in 1930. First located on Jaffa Road, where the elder Elia bought the existing Hanania Brothers photo service shop, the shop moved to its current location in 1949. Now it is a sort of museum, offering images of Jerusalem’s past, and selling the photos taken by three generations of Kahvedjians. But for a long time it was a place to develop film, get portraits taken, and hire photographers for weddings and other events. When the elder Elia passed away in 1999, his son, Kevork, took over the business, and also published the book “Jerusalem Through My Father’s Eyes,” a collection of photos taken by his father. When Kevork died last year after battling cancer, the younger Elia continued the business.
Now it’s my time
the younger Elia said, sitting behind the counter on a recent summer afternoon, where he was telling a group of European tourists his father’s life story, of how he came as an Armenian orphan to Jerusalem during World War I, and built a whole life here. The younger Elia is also a photographer in his spare time.
I really like to show the changes in the city in my photos,
he said, pointing to a shot of the Zion Gate, riddled with bullet holes from the 1967 Six Day War. He then took out a photo his grandfather had taken in the same place in the 1930s, when the gate’s facade was much smoother.
I think it’s important to document things, because they will change again in the future
he said. The shop is located at 14 Al-khanka Street, in the Christian Quarter of the Old City.