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Tuesday, 28 January 2020

Egypt: An early 20th century photographic mosaic

Nagwa El-Ashri , Tuesday 8 Oct 2019
20thCentury Photographic Mosaic
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As the American University in Cairo Centennial celebrations continue, the “From Archives to Arch-Lives” conference celebrates the poetics of documentary photography in the exhibition “Egypt: An Early 20thCentury PhotographicMosaic”at The Photographic Gallery. The exhibition is organised in cooperation with The Academy of Liberal Arts.

The photographs featured in this exhibition are part of the “Monarchy and Dynasty” Collection and “the Alexandria 1900” Collection. Photographers include S.N. Theodossiou, Charles Chusseau-Flaviens, Max H. Rudmann, Paul Almasy and Laure Albin Guillot. Some photographs are also from historical collections such as the Underwood Archives, the Keystone-France Archives and others.

What lies at the intersection of visual culture and modern history in this exhibiton rests on a rich documentary photographic heritage which tells two stories about Egypt. The photographs highlight the historical practice of the medium during the 19th and mid-20thcenturies, capturing a diverse range of iconic compositions ranging from a childhood photo of King Farouk to holiday greetings from President Gamal Abdel-Nasser, from tourist landscapes to train stations and their passengers, and from pristine beaches to Cairo street scenes. All document pivotal moments in Egyptian history. 

The exhibition is on until 24 October.

*A version of this article appears in print in the 10 October, 2019 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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