In Arab Lands

Book Details

Author 
Publisher  The American University in Cairo Press
Publication Date   March 1, 2000
ISBN  9774245695
Pages  96

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Description

From street scenes to portraits, landscapes to architectural studies, this fascinating collection of photographs allows us to glimpse a time and way of life now past: Ottoman Syria, Palestine, and Egypt in the latter half of the nineteenth century.
P. Felix Bonfils was the first French photographer, and one of the first European photographers, to settle in the Near East, establishing a studio in Beirut in 1867. He is credited with introducing the genre of Near Eastern photographic portraiture, and the selection published here, taken by Felix, his wife Lydie, and his son Adrien, includes remarkable portraits of Bedouin, Ottoman officials, Shiite Muslims, and village peasants, as well as examples of the clothing worn by different sections of society. While many of these and other pictures were posed and made use of models, and while some have been criticized for pandering to the taste for the exotic prevalent in Europe at the time, the Bonfils collection is nevertheless an invaluable social record, containing many sensitive ethnographic portraits and objective and unobtrusive field-shots.
The Bonfils landscapes, panoramic views, and architectural studies of Near Eastern cities and monuments are also important historical records of places and buildings that have deteriorated,

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