Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226356402 Published August 2016
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226356372 Published August 2016
E-book $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226356549 Published August 2016 Also Available From
E-book Retailers: Amazon Kindle Apple iBooks B&N Nook Google Play Kobo Library Vendors: EBSCO

Camera Orientalis

Reflections on Photography of the Middle East

Ali Behdad

Camera Orientalis

Ali Behdad

224 pages | 4 color plates, 80 halftones | 7 x 9 | © 2015
Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226356402 Published August 2016
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226356372 Published August 2016
E-book $30.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226356549 Published August 2016
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.

An important examination of previously overlooked European and Middle Eastern photographers and studios, Camera Orientalis demonstrates that, far from being a one-sided European development, Orientalist photography was the product of rich cultural contact between the East and the West.
 
Contents
List of Illustrations
Acknowledgments

Introduction: Camera Orientalis
1 The Orientalist Photograph
2 The Tourist, the Collector, and the Curator: On the Lives and Afterlives of Ottoman-Era Photography
3 The Politics of Resident Photography in the Middle East: Reflections on Antoin Sevruguin’s Photographs of Qajar-Era Iran
4 In My Grandfather’s Darkroom: On Photographic (Self-) Exoticism in the Middle East
5 Local Representations of Power: On Royal Portrait Photography in Iran
Afterword: On Photography and Neo-Orientalism Today
Notes
Bibliography
Index
Review Quotes
Christopher Pinney, University College London
“Behdad maps an important position in debates about the political efficacy of photographs. Rightly insisting on the centrality of ‘the Orient’ to early practitioners, he redirects our vision to the formative role of the camera in the uneasy careers of Europe’s empires. The contact zones created by the embrace of photography by local elites provide a rich counterpoint, revealing not ‘resistance’ but the vivid realization that the camera’s ‘image repertoires’ were a conduit to power. This is a salutary contribution to the study of photography as a global practice, one that has always exceeded Europe and the narrow confines of nation states.”
Homi K. Bhabha, Harvard University
“I warmly welcome Behdad’s book on the historical techniques and political protocols of photography in the realization of Orientalist visual culture. Can we make any argument about the impact of colonization on modernity—post-, contra-, or plural—without exploring the profound influence of the techne of the photograph on the affective and ethical networks that have made the Middle East a crucial hub of global knowledge? This excellent contribution provides us with a crucial resource for understanding the regional conditions and cosmopolitical implications of an art that reveals what is hidden and submerged while mirroring the social and psychic salience of surface and frame.”
Marianne Hirsch, author of The Generation of Postmemory: Writing and Visual Culture After the Holocaust
“Finding that the Middle East served as an important site for the development of photography, Behdad traces the unequal gazes through which photography enabled Orientalist ways of seeing. But, surprisingly and powerfully, Camera Orientalis goes on to show that photographic encounters engender more than struggles for control of the visual field. They also yield multidirectional gazes and hybrid practices that borrow from and inspire one other, in sometimes troubling ways.”
For more information, or to order this book, please visit http://www.press.uchicago.edu
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style |

Chicago Blog: Art and Architecture

Events in Art and Architecture

Keep Informed

JOURNALs