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The Indigenous Lens?

Early Photography in the Near and Middle East

Edited by: Markus Ritter and Staci G. Scheiwiller

The historiography of early photography has scarcely examined Islamic countries in the Near and Middle East, although the new technique was adopted very quickly there by the 1840s. Which regional, local, and global aspects can be made evident? What role did autochthonous image and art traditions have, and which specific functions did photography meet since its introduction? This collective volume deals with examples from Iran, the Ottoman Empire, and the Arab lands and with the question of local specifics, or an „indigenous lens." The contributions broach the issues of regional histories of photography, local photographers, specific themes and practices, and historical collections in these countries. They offer, for the first time in book form, a cross-section through a developing field of the history of photography.

Author Information

Markus Ritter, University of Vienna; Staci Gem Scheiwiller, California State University Stanislaus, Turlock.


"Zahlreiche Illustrationen machen den Band zu einem wertvollen und lesens- wie anschauenswerten Dokument der Forschung zur frühen Fotografie in südwestasiatischen Gebieten bis hin zu Regionen des Balkans. Der von Ritter und Schweiwiller herausgegebene Band ist eine hochwillkommene Ergänzung der Bemühungen zur Erforschung der visuellen Kulturen der behandelten Regionen."
Rüdiger Lohlker in: Wiener Zeitschrift für die Kunde des Morgenlandes 108 (2018), 511-512

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Audience: Art and photography historians, religious scholars, Scholars of Islam and the Middle East