This book explores the interplay between 19th-century photography and Europe's vision of the Middle East. The Middle East played a critical role in the development of photography as a new technology and an art form. Likewise, photography was instrumental in cultivating and maintaining Europe's distinctively Orientalist vision of the Middle East. As new advances enhanced the versatility of the medium, 19th-century photographers were able to mass-produce images to incite and satisfy the demands of a burgeoning tourist industry and the appetites of armchair travellers in Europe. In this way, the evolution of modern photography fuelled an interest in visual contact with the rest of the world. Photography's Orientalism offers the first in-depth cultural study of the works of European and non-European photographers active in the Middle East, focusing on the relationship between photographic, literary, and historical representations of this region and beyond.
Ali Behdad is John Charles Hill Professor of Literature and chair of the English Department at the University of California, Los Angeles. Luke Gartlan is a lecturer in the School of Art History at the University of St. Andrews, Scotland.