The development of photography
“Dear sirs, through the light, nature was passed onto a surface.” (François Arago, French Academy of Sciences, 1839)
Photography was among the most important discoveries of the 19th century. The camera obscura (meaning a dark chamber) discovered in earlier centuries, in the years ahead would form the basis for a new invention; an apparatus able to “capture the moment”. In the early phase it was almost impossible to photograph moving images due to extended exposure time. But with the continued progress in technology, travelling photographers entered everyday life, especially since the numbers of travellers increased in response to the improved possibilities of journeying by sea on cruise liners and by rail with the Orient Express. One of the most celebrated photographers in England was Francis Frith James Robertson who travelled to Egypt, and James Robertson, another English photographer, who photographed the monuments and people of Istanbul.
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The development of photography
Studio photography (portraits)
Berber woman (Nailiya) lying down


National Museum of Anthropology, Madrid, Spain

Albumen print, cardboard

The Orientalist studio photographers often placed female models in local dress within oriental decor.

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In this Exhibition
About the Exhibition
Encountering the East
Encountering the West
The concept of revivals