Dmitri Ivanovich Ermakov was born in Tiflis in Georgia in 1846 and was the son of the Italian architect called Luigi Caribaggio and a Georgian mother of Austrian descent. His mother later remarried a man of Russian descent. Ermakov operated a commercial photography studio in Tiflis in 1870 and indeed is believed to have instructed Antoin Sevruguin when he moved from Tehran to his mother’s birthplace in Georgia, following the death of his father. Ermakov travelled extensively across the Crimea, Central Asia, Iran and the Caucasus and built up a significant body of work (estimated at close to 30,000 negatives). Ermakov participated in photographic exhibitions both in Russia and across Europe and developed a reputation for the quality of his work, being awarded numerous awards. As such, he was brought to the attention of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, who appointed him as a court photographer. It is believed that at this time, Ermakov opened a photographic studio in Tehran.