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Article

Sarah Urist Green

(b Kabul, June 5, 1973).

Afghan video and performance artist and photographer, active also in the USA. After fleeing Soviet-occupied Kabul with her family in the late 1980s, Abdul lived as a refugee in Germany and India before moving to Southern California. She received a BA in Political Science and Philosophy at California State University, Fullerton, and an MFA at the University of California, Irvine, in 2000. Abdul first returned to a post-Taliban Afghanistan in 2001, where she encountered a place and people transformed by decades of violence and unrest. Since that time, Abdul has made work in Kabul and Los Angeles, staging herself in performances and creating performance-based video works and photography that explore ideas of home and the interconnection between architecture and identity.

Beginning in the late 1990s, Abdul made emotionally intense performance art informed by that of Yugoslavian artist Marina Abramović and Cuban-born American artist Ana Mendieta. At the time unable to travel to Afghanistan, Abdul created and documented performances in Los Angeles that probed her position as Afghan, female, Muslim, a refugee and a transnational artist. In ...

Article

Italo Zannier

British photographers of Italian origin. Antonio Beato (b ?the Veneto, c. 1830; d Luxor, 1903) and his brother Felice [Felix] Beato (b ?the Veneto, c. 1830; d Mandalay, after 1904) were for many years thought to be one person with two names, Antonio and Felice, and only recently has the mystery been solved of the almost contemporaneous presence of a Beato in two different (and often very distant) places. The misunderstanding arose from the fact that both their names (Antonio Felice Beato) appear on several photographs. A closer inquiry brought to light a letter written by Antonio and published in the French paper, Moniteur de la photographie (1 June 1886), in which he explains that he is not the producer of the exotic photographs recently exhibited in London, mention of which had been made in the Moniteur of 10 March; the photographer was instead ‘[his] brother Monsieur Felice Beato of Japan’....

Article

Susan Kart

(b Mbarara, 1963).

Ugandan photographer, film maker, and installation artist of Indian descent, active in the UK. Bhimji was born in Uganda to Indian parents. The family fled Uganda to England in 1972 due to President Idi Amin’s expulsion of all Asians and Asian-Ugandans from the country along with seizure of their property and businesses as part of his ‘economic war’ on Asia. Bhimji studied art at Goldsmiths College and the Slade School of Art in London and her photographic work primarily consists of close-up, sometimes abstracted glimpses of seemingly abandoned spaces, objects, and landscapes. Bhimji’s work focuses on India and Uganda, which are treated as almost anthropomorphic subjects that appear restless, unfinished, abandoned, or frozen in her photographs, films, and film stills. Bhimji was one of four shortlisted finalists for the Turner Prize in 2007, and her work has been exhibited alongside such artists as El Anatsui, António Olé, Yinka Shonibare, and ...

Article

Arthur Ollman

(b Mucklestone, Staffs, 1834; d Nottingham, April 24, 1912).

English photographer. He photographed extensively in India between 1863 and 1869 and is known for the elegant compositional structure of his images and for the rugged conditions under which he worked. He began photographing in 1853 in the Midlands. A decade later he moved to India and established a photographic firm in Simla with Charles Shepherd. His legendary Himalayan expeditions in 1863, 1864 and 1866 produced hundreds of dramatic views (London, V&A). His architectural studies were widely sold; his mountain landscapes and ethnographic studies, few of which survive, sold less well. On returning to England in 1870 he left the partnership of Bourne and Shepherd and became a successful manufacturer, although continuing to work as a photographer and watercolour painter until his death.

Article

Reinhold Misselbeck

[Friedman, André ]

(b Budapest, Oct 22, 1913; d Thai-Binh, Vietnam, May 25, 1954).

American photographer of Hungarian birth. Capa studied political science at Berlin University from 1931 to 1933. A self-taught photographer, as early as 1931 he worked as a photographic technician for the Ullstein publishing house and as a photographic assistant for Dephot (Deutscher Photodienst) cooperative photographic agency. In 1933 he emigrated to Paris, where he and his friend Gerda Pohorylles (1901–37) invented the American-sounding name Robert Capa, initially to publish photo-stories for which she wrote the text. This unsettled period in Paris offered numerous opportunities to work as a freelancer and to publish successfully. Although Lucien Vogel, the publisher of the magazine Vu, had revealed Capa’s use of a pseudonym, he kept the name and flew to Spain as a reporter on the Spanish Civil War. With Pohorylles (using the pseudonym Gerda Taro) he published Death in the Making, which contained his most famous photograph Death of a Spanish Loyalist...

Article

Ismeth Raheem

(fl 1860–c. 1874).

English photographer active in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). He went to Ceylon in the late 1850s and was employed in the firm of H. C. Bryde from early 1860 to 1866. By 1866 he had set up his own studio in Kandy, which because of its higher altitude was considered to have a climate more conducive than the capital, Colombo, for taking photographs. Like many of the 19th-century contemporary commercial photographers in Ceylon, Lawton offered a wide range of subjects in advertisements placed in the local press, including rural landscapes, scenes of the coffee plantation industry, the newly opened railway and portraits of diverse racial types within the indigenous population.

Lawton’s chief contribution to photography lay in the documentation of archaeological monuments, which he carried out under the instructions of the Committee on Ancient Architecture in Ceylon formed and funded by the government in 1868. His photographs of the ancient sites, some of which were published in ...

Article

Sheila S. Blair and Jonathan M. Bloom

[Arab. taṣwīr, fūtūgrāfiyā ; Ottoman Turk. taṣwīr ; Mod. Turk. fotoğrafçilik ; Pers. ‛akkāsī, fūtūghirāfī

Term used to describe the technique of producing an image by the action of light on a chemically prepared material. Although used privately in France and England as early as 1833, the process was announced publicly only in 1839.

In January 1839 François Arago (1786–1853), a member of the Académie des Sciences, suggested that among the advantages the new medium presented was that the millions of hieroglyphs covering the monuments of Thebes, Memphis and Karnak could be copied by a single man rather than by scores of draftsmen, and in 1846 the English photographer and scientist William Henry Fox Talbot (1800–77) published a pamphlet with three prints of hieroglyphics for distribution among ar-chaeologists and Orientalists.

The Ottoman press reported the discovery of photography as early October 1839, and European colonial involvement in the Islamic lands of North Africa and West Asia ensured that photography was immediately brought there: for example, in ...

Article

Peter A. Nagy

(b Bangalore, Nov 9, 1956).

Indian photographer and performance artist. Pushpamala abbreviated her family name, a standard custom in South India, and she has refused to disclose what the N. stands for. She received a degree in economics, English and psychology from Bangalore University and then studied sculpture at the M.S. University in Baroda, in the western Indian state of Gujarat (1985). Her early works, mostly in terracotta, were figurative, resembling dolls and puppets and often arranged in groups. By the mid-1990s she was experimenting with found objects and with crafting objects by hand. Among her most successful works of this period was Labyrinth (1994; see 2004 exh. cat.); a circle of charred wooden sandals, such as those usually worn by holy men in India, implying a cyclical connection between religion and violence.

In 1996 Pushpamala embarked on what she referred to as ‘photo-performances’. These were elaborately staged scenarios in which she played the lead role, sometimes joined by other actors and almost always dramatically filmed. While indebted to Cindy Sherman’s ...

Article

Italo Zannier

(b England, c. ?1810; d ?India, after ?1881).

English photographer and medallist. He was active from about 1850 in Malta, where he met the Beato family brothers, whose sister, Maria Matilde, became Robertson’s wife. Together with the Beato brothers, Robertson travelled to Athens in 1852, and then c. 1853 to Constantinople, where he was appointed chief engraver of the Imperial Mint of Turkey. With the help of the Beatos, whom he had probably taught, Robertson took a series of photographs of Constantinople in 1853 (e.g. Eastern Scene, see Lucie-Smith, pl. 66). This was followed, in September 1855, by a series of the battlefields of the Crimea, in which he continued the work begun by Roger Fenton of documenting the war. Many of the photographs of this period bear the signature Robertson & Beato, and this is found on other photographs up until 1862.

In 1857 Robertson left Turkey and set out with the Beato brothers on a long journey from Athens to Egypt, Jerusalem, and eventually to India. Probably during his stay in Athens, Robertson gave many of his photographic plates to ...

Article

William Main

(b Keboemen, Indonesia, 1915; d Australia, Aug 1985).

New Zealand photographer and decorative artist of Dutch origin. He was educated in the Netherlands and in New Zealand, where he attended the Canterbury School of Fine Arts, Christchurch, in 1939. Shortly after this he gradually withdrew from Western cultural influences and began to draw upon Asian and Polynesian influences for his artistic inspiration. While attempting to trace early examples of Maori art he studied cave drawings in remote parts of New Zealand, and also photographed geothermal formations in the centre of North Island. Influenced by the Maori artist Pine Taiapa, he revived an almost forgotten Maori art form by decorating gourds with intricate moko designs. Finally, he took up the carving of jade ornaments, and his success in this work led to the publication of his book Jade Country (1973). Dissatisfied with the way his work was received, he left New Zealand to live in Indonesia and Australia....

Article

Ismeth Raheem

(fl 1862–1903).

English photographer , active in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). After a period of study at the London School of Photography, he returned to Ceylon in 1862 to work in his family’s photographic business, which had been purchased in 1860 from James Parting, one of the earliest practitioners of daguerreotype photography between 1849 and 1860. It was to dominate the commercial photographic business in the country up to the late 1920s.

The importance of Skeen’s own work lies in its documentary record of a rapidly changing economic and social order. His subjects and themes included the coffee and tea industries, views of ancient Buddhist sites, ethnographical studies, arts and crafts, buildings and railways. Among the most interesting and important are his views of commercial building activity and street scenes in Colombo, Kandy and other provincial towns taken between 1860 and 1880. He was also a skilful portraitist; among his more distinguished sitters was Julia Margaret Cameron, whose portrait was taken after her return to Ceylon in ...

Article

Ray McKenzie

(b Edinburgh, June 14, 1837; d London, Sept 30, 1921).

Scottish photographer and writer. After studying chemistry at Edinburgh University he settled on the island of Pinang, Malaysia, where he began practising as a professional photographer in 1862. Over the next 12 years he travelled extensively in the region, taking many photographs in Siam (now Thailand; see fig.), Cambodia, Vietnam and China. His subjects ranged from ethnography to antiquities, and his style is distinguished by the directness with which he represented landscapes and social practices that to his western contemporaries appeared almost fantastic. Despite acute difficulties of climate and terrain, he used the cumbersome wet collodion process, producing large-format (up to 360×480 mm) and stereographic negatives that are noted for their clarity of detail and richness of tone.

Unlike most travel photographers of his generation Thomson rarely exhibited his work, preferring the illustrated album as the medium best suited to his documentary approach. In all he produced nine such albums, varying widely both in format and reprographic process. The first, ...

Article

Alexandra Noble

(b Devonport, 1822; d Devonport, 1902).

English photographer. He was an enthusiastic photographer while stationed with the army in India from 1839 to 1875. In the 1850s he initiated and undertook numerous surveys of sites of historical and ethnographical interest: the best-known include commissions for the British East India Company (1855) and the Madras Presidency (...