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TitleLooking beyond the lens’ veil: capturing the haram (1840s till 1890s)
Author(s)Correia, Jorge
Issue dateApr-2016
Abstract(s)The rush towards the Orient coincided with the invention of photography in 1839. Several pioneer Western photographers travelled to the Middle East, bringing home images which helped encapsulating the East as the realm of exoticism, fantasy and mystery. At a time when western powers were looking to the region with increasing colonial appetites, images aided Orientalist impressions of chaos and disorder, insalubrity or lack of self-governance. Yet, through the very same images, the perception of a different reality was already available, challenging lens and representations. This paper wishes to abandon stereotypes and interpret the codes of the traditional Islamic city as they were being offered to those who dared to break the frame of Orientalism. In fact, early photographs were able to offer alternative readings to urban legacies and to show levels of Orientalist resilience to morphological evidence. Islamic law and alternative social standards require a visual scrutiny for the evaluation of degrees of halal and haram in architecture and urbanism. From generic urban panoramas to street views, pushing towards the visualization of levels of domesticity, cameras allowed a degree of intrusion unknown until them, permitting for non-staged snapshots to be captured in the Arab-Muslim sphere. How was the visual experience of an outsider photographer? And how was the perceptive experience transmitted by the photograph? Through the analysis of images taken between the 1840s and 1890s, this paper aspires to reposition the discussion on inside/outside or interior/exterior binomials as far as early photography’s reception and perception is concerned.
TypePanel presentation
AccessRestricted access (Author)
Appears in Collections:Lab2PT - Comunicações
Lab2PT - Comunicações

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