Nineteenth century Middle East through photographs : examining two photographic albums
thesisposted on 23.05.2021, 10:04 by Maryam Ghorbankarimi
This thesis examines and compares two nineteenth-century photographic albums of travels in the Middle East from the collection of George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film. The first album, compiled of amateur photographs, illustrates a trip up the Nile River from Egypt to Nubia. The other album is composed of commercial photographs depicting a journey from the Mediterranean to Algeria, with focus on the Holy Land. The commercial photographs are idealized and posed, while the amateur photographs are fresh, realistic, and capture the world as it is. However, these two albums both portray the Middle East as uncivilized, culturally backward, and frozen in antiquity and its people are depicted as primitive and or sexual objects. This misrepresentation is the result of the preconceived notions of the nineteenth-century Middle East created by Orientalist scholars.