Who doesn’t like old photos?

As a nineteenth-century and a Middle East history nerd, I had to go see what this Egler Hesser/ Herzog collection currently on show at Galerie Sfeir-Semler was about. A journey through time, across Palestine, Egypt, and (what’s most interesting to me), Lebanon… Old photographs, some of them bearing the traces of time, others beautifully coloured in saturated hues; plenty of lavish landscapes; poverty but also opulence in the pounds and pounds of golds worn by some of the women; obviously relents of racism/orientalism/colonialism (witness, for instance, a series of photographs of pilgrims to Mecca snapped, almost, like exotic animal species, or the expected shots of menacing-looking Middle Eastern men with their weapons); the beginnings of archeology with photos of Roman and Egyptian temples….

I won’t say more, except go now. The exhibition lasts until October 29th, so you can’t say you haven’t been warned in advance!

 


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