Orientalist Photographs 1870-1940
The century that spanned from the 1850-1950 witnessed the golden age of travel and the exposure of an increasing number of Westerners to foreign cultures. The Maghreb became a source of exotic fascination and people grew particularly enchanted by the landscapes, peoples, and cultures of countries such as Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria. Orientalist Photographs pays homage to the ultimate travel dream of that era. This collection of over 100 autochrome, sepia, and black and white photographs captures delicate, lost details: the dusty, labyrinthine walls of the casbah; the dappled sunlight on the market stall of a souk; the intricate metal work of traditional jewelry. Each image is accompanied by an informative text that situates the photograph in its historical reality, revealing how, for example, the richness of Algerian embroidery is not the product of hermetic tradition, as once perceived, but rather that of an innovative fusion of Spanish, Turkish, and native cultures. This book’s haunting photographs and incisive texts vividly render all the mystery, the beauty, and the naivete of the West’s encounter with a culture it found so radically different from its own.