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Photography and Egypt.

By Maria Golia.
Reaktion Books, 2009. 144 pp., 30 color and 50 halftone illustrations, 7½x8¾".

Publisher's Description
Egypt immediately conjures images of the pyramids, the temples, and the Sphinx in the desert. Early photographs of Egypt took these ancient monuments as their primary subjects, and these have remained hugely influential in constructing our view of the country. But while Egypt and its monuments have been regularly photographed by foreigners, little is known about the early days of photography among Egyptians. Photography and Egypt examines both, considering a wide range of images from the mid-nineteenth century to the present day, including studio portraits, landscapes, and photojournalism.

Two forces drove photography’s early development in Egypt: its use as an essential tool of archaeology and the accelerating effects of archaeological photographs on the burgeoning tourism industry. In this richly illustrated book, Maria Golia examines these twin drives, while looking closely at the work of early Egyptian photographers such as Colonel Mohammed Sadiq, Mohammed Badr, and Atiyya Gaddis, many of whom have never before been studied. Golia examines how photography was also employed for propaganda purposes, including depictions of celebrated soldiers, workers, and farmers; and how studio-based photography was used to portray the growing Egyptian middle class. Today’s young photographic artists, Golia reveals, use the medium both to celebrate everyday life and to indict the political and social conditions that contribute to their hardship, with photography bearing witness to this history—as well as helping to shape it.

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