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CAMERA ORIENTALIS: REFLECTIONS ON PHOTOGRAPHY OF THE MIDDLE EAST. Ali Behdad. University of Chicago Press, 2016. 228 pp. with 84 ills. (4 col.). 23 x 18 cm. LC 2015-39772 ISBN 9780226356402 In English.
Hardcover edition also available; see Worldwide 173150. Publisher's description: In the decades after its invention in 1839, photography was inextricably linked to the Middle East. Introduced as a crucial tool for Egyptologists and Orientalists who needed to document their archaeological findings, the photograph was easier and faster to produce in intense Middle Eastern light -- making the region one of the original sites for the practice of photography. A pioneering study of this intertwined history, Camera Orientalis traces the Middle East's influences on photography's evolution, as well as photography's effect on Europe's view of "the Orient." Considering a range of Western and Middle Eastern archival material from the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Ali Behdad offers a rich account of how photography transformed Europe's distinctly Orientalist vision into what seemed objective fact, a transformation that proved central to the project of European colonialism. At the same time, Orientalism was useful for photographers from both regions, as it gave them a set of conventions by which to frame exotic Middle Eastern cultures for Western audiences. Behdad also shows how Middle Eastern audiences embraced photography as a way to foreground status and patriarchal values while also exoticizing other social classes.
Indexing: Western, Non-Western in a Western Style, Middle East and North Africa (Western Style) — Several Periods — Photography
Plans: 71
Worldwide Number: 173151
Paperbound $30.00    

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