Tag Archives: Postcard

Light from the Middle East

The Middle East, a sprawling and nuanced geographic mass that is home to many cultures and traditions, is often seen through the lens of politics. The Victoria & Albert Museums latest photography exhibition, however, manages to transcend this overarching narrative, producing a show that focuses on the subject of contemporary photographic practice.

As the exhibition’s curator Marta Weiss acknowledges, until now, the V & A Museums collection of photographs from the region reflected the Eurocentric term itself: Most of the photographs that we have that relate to the region were made by westerners, she says. This exhibition marks a departure from that, recognizing instead the wealth and variety of photo-making from this diverse region. This is very much an exhibition that is not about outsiders, but rather a view of the Middle East from the Middle East.”

Spanning over three decades and encompassing the work of some 30 artists and photographers, the show is divided into three parts: recording, re-framing and resisting. The categories, explains Weiss, show how photography is being employed by photographers.

The ambitiousness of the show lies not in its geographic scope, but rather in the drawing together of a diverse group of practitioners who have engaged with the medium in multiple ways.At one end of the spectrum, there is the iconic work of Magnum-photographer Abbas, documenting the unfolding revolution in Iran from 1978-1979 in his series Iran Diary, a precursor to the events attested to recently in the Arab spring. Nermine Hamman focuses on this very subject, photographing young Egyptian soldiers in Tahrir Square. Displayed in the “resistance” section of the exhibition, Hammans digitally altered images remove the soldiers from their immediate surroundings and place them instead among candy-colored mountain scapes and cherry blossoms. Entitled Upekkha (2011), the images have a postcard-like quality, drawing a parallel between the spectacle of Tahrir Square to that of a tourist attraction.

Despite the intention of the curators to shift the emphasis away from the political, Weiss acknowledges there is a lot of politics in the works. Though some of the photographers openly challenge this. Shadi Ghadirians re-staged portraits of Iranian women in the Qajar period (1786-1925) play on the tensions between tradition, modernity and gender. linkwheel . The warm grey theatrical studio photographs feature playful reminders of modernity, including an explorer bicycle and Pepsi can.

The artists on show do not limit themselves to just the Middle East however. Taysir Batnijis series documenting Israeli watchtowers in occupied Palestinian is a clear homage to German artists Bernd and Hillary Bechers iconic typologies of industrial structures in Europe. Yousef Nabil, who once worked with David LaChapelle, also looks to Europe for inspiration, photographing elderly Yemeni men in England. By hand-coloring the portraits in the style of old Egyptian film stills however, Nabil celebrates the rich tradition of Middle Eastern image-making, which, as the exhibition is testament to, is as strong and vibrant as ever.


Light from the Middle East: New Photography is on show at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London from Nov. 13 through April 7, 2013.

Kharunya Paramaguru is based in TIME’s London office.


Saturday 5 February 2011

It’s all Egypt again, to start-off with…

Some of the best photos I’ve seen from Tahrir Square…

Features and Essays – Yuri Kozyrev: The Battle for Tahrir Square (TIME: February 2011)

Features and Essays – NYT (various photographers): From the Protests in Egypt (NYT: February 2011)

Features and Essays – Jacopo Quaranta: A Night in Tahrir Square (TIME February 2011)

TIME has also updated Dominic Nahr’s gallery I posted on Tuesday, with some new images..

Features and Essays – Dominic Nahr: The Clashes in Cairo (TIME: February 2011)

Features and Essays – Guy Martin: Clashes in Cairo (WSJ: February 2011)

It’s not surprising photographers are moving in small packs in conditions as in Cairo during this week and end up with similar photographs. It does however give an interesting opportunity to compare, how two photographers see and capture identical scenes….As pointed out by @melissalyttle, Dominic Nahr and Guy Martin for instance seem to have moved together as both of the two slideshows above include several photographs that have been taken as if the two men have been standing, in Lyttle’s words, “shoulder to shoulder”….See for yourself in the below examples…I find especially the first example striking… The two photographs are pretty much identical…only slight differences in contrast and saturation…About the photo of the man wiping blood off his head, I’m almost 100% certain we are looking at the same man, despite the fact his jacket does look different colour…this might be due to post processing… I’m pretty sure the wall is the same, and its colour is slightly different as well in the two photograps…

Dominic Nahr for TIME:

Guy Martin for Wall Street Journal:

Egypt in New Yorker Photo Booth…

Features and Essays – Kate Brooks: Postcard from Tahrir Square (New Yorker: February 2011)

Features and Essays – Joao Pina: Postcard form Tahrir Square (New Yorker: February 2011)

Features and Essays – Nadia Shira Cohen: Postcard from Tahrir Square (New Yorker: February 2011)

Features and Essays – Ron Haviv: Egypt (VII: February 2011)

From LA Times…

Features and Essays – Caroly Cole: Egypt (LA Times: February 2011) audio slideshow

Features and Essays – LA Times (Carolyn Cole and Michael Robinson Chavez): Protests in Egypt (LA Times: February 2011)

Features and Essays – Sean Smith: Egypt protests: events in Tahrir Square (Guardian: February 2011) Another Guardian gallery by various photographers

Great photos by Ivor Prickett on the Panos site…and it’s not 6×6…

Features and Essays – Ivor Prickett: Days of Anger (Panos: February 2011)

Features and Essays – Jason Larkin: Cairo’s Ornate (or Odd) Portals to the Past (NYT Lens: February 2011)

The harrasment of journalists and photographers has been worrying…

Articles – NYT Lens: Even the Middle Ground Is Perilous in Cairo (NYT Lens: February 2011)

Articles – PDN: Photographers Beaten, Robbed as Pro-Mubarak Gangs Turn on Press (PDN: February 2011)

Articles – MSNBC: Hotel staff take photojournalists’ cameras in Cairo (MSNBC: February 2011)

Interviews Chris Hondros interview regarding the madness in Tahrir Square in Egypt (BagNewsNotes: February 2011)

Interviews Magnum photographer Peter Van Agtmael tells of ordeal in Cairo’s streets (BJP: February 2011)

Interviews – Ron Haviv : Mob mentality creates dangerous conditions for protesters and journalists (MSNBC: February 2011)

Articles – Andrew Burton: Account of an Attack (Photographer’s blog: February 2011)

This is from week ago…

InterviewsScott Nelson (NYT Lens: February 2011)

NewsABCNews ongoing list of journalists arrested/injured/attacked/threatened in Cairo

I wondered how they all filed during the internet shut down..

Articles – PDN: From Egypt, Photographers Persisted in Filing Photos (PDN: February 2011)

Elsewhere in North Africa…

Features and Essays – Christian Als: Postcard from Algeria (New Yorker: February 2011)

Something completely different…

Features and Essays – Piotr Malecki: The Knacker’s Yard (Panos: February 2011)

Features and Essays – Alvaro Ybarra Zavala: Silent Murmur (Photographer’s website: 2011)

Features and Essays – Gerd Ludwig: Chernobyl (Huffington Post: February 2011)

Features and Essays – Jerome Sessini: Referendum in Southern Sudan (Reportage: February 2011)

Features and Essays – Tomas Lekfeldt: AfriChina (Moment Archive: 2011)

Features and Essays – David Moore: Inside London’s Secret Crisis-Command Bunker (Wired: February 2011)

MoviesHow to Make a Book With Steidl

Books – A Million Shillings – Escape from Somalia by Alixandra Fazzina is voted number 10 in a list of Amazon’s bestsellers in photojournalism

Awards Sony World Photography Awards Finalists and Shortlisted (SWPA)

Awards – Announcement for female documentary photographers: The 2011 Inge Morath Award is now open for submissions

World Press Photo judging…

InterviewsDavid Burnett, Vince Aletti, Ruth Eichhorn and Heinz Kluetmeier : WPP judges (World Press Photo: February 2011)

Another great blog post by Burnett…A must read!

Articles – David Burnett: To Photography and To Photographers (Photographer’s blog: February 2011)

Anastasia is everywhere…and to my surprise it’s not 6×6 this time…

Articles – Verve: Anastasia Taylor-Lind (Verve: February 2011)

I heard by the way, that her Gaza Zoo feature is published in today’s Telegraph Magazine, if you are interested…

[NB. the below link did work when I was doing this post, but not when I later checked. Fingers crossed it’s OK, again]

Articles – BJP: French retail chain offers three photojournalism grants (BJP: February 2011) FNAC, a French entertainment retail chain, has unveiled the recipients of its inaugural photojournalism grants with photographers Jan Banning, Cedric Gerbehaye and Anastasia Taylor-Lind each receiving €8000

Articles – BJP: New World Order : Images from the frontline of the recession by Christian Lutz, Marchand & Meffre, Ian Teh, etc (BJP: February 2011)

Articles / Tutorials – Joyel L: How to find a fixer (Photographer’s blog: February 2011)

Articles / Tutorials – Assignment Chicago: Two Essential Ingredients of Contest-Winning Photos (Chicago Tribune: February 2011)

Articles / Tutorials – Reuters: Want to know how to cover street protests? Here’s some useful photo tips and what to look out for (Reuters: February 2011)

A must read….

Articles – Justin Mott: Now What? Vol. 1: Why Being Busy Can Mean Being Broke (Photographer’s blog: February 2011)

Articles – Chip Litherland: i’ll just shoot some weddings (Photographer’s blog: February 2011)

Articles – Guardian: Featured photojournalist: Alexandre Meneghini (Guardian: February 2011)

AgenciesMagnum Photos February 2011 Newsletter

Multimedia New issue of 1000 Words Magazine is out

MultimediaEverybody Street

Articles / Interviews Misha Erwitt : The Woman in the ‘Family of Man’ Family (NYT Lens: February 2011)

Twitter accounts I’ve just started following…

Twitter David Guttenfelder

TwitterScott Nelson

Twitter Kevin German

Twitter David Walter Banks

TwitterAutographABP

TwitterShit Photojournalists Like

Twitter David Axelbank

JobsPanos seeks multi-media intern

Books – Phil Coomes: 64×64: Farewell to Kodachrome (Blurb)

WorkshopsWorkshop in Slovenia with Antonin Kratochvil and Marcus Bleasdale : March 2011 : Slovenia

To finish off, again, a joke: “Conan O’Brian’s advice to Egypt: “If you want people to stay at home and do nothing, you should turn the internet back on.”

As for me, I’m now going to turn off this computer and go cycling on the Brighton seafront. Even if it rains. Have a good weekend everybody.