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Bringing it Home: Humans of Upper Egypt Exhibit in Luxor

March 17, 2022

The arrival of the daguerrotype in Egypt, not even a year after its invention in the 19th century, enabled a great dawn of preservation. For centuries to come, Egyptians and foreigners alike would keep Egypt, and its socio-cultural and political development, forever etched in negative films. With the arrival of the roll-film at the turn of the century, fancy British socialites, among other European travelers, would capture their hike of the pyramids, or other momentous occasions, in negatives. Alternatively, they would slap their photographs on postcards, to send to relatives back in Europe or the USA documenting their ‘exotic’ travels. Indeed, the camera was handled by ostentatious hands – including of artists and writers alike. For the most part, their work was carried out in the cities, with shots of Cairo and Alexandria as key attraction cities for the seasoned elites. Upper Egypt, on the other hand, remained at the mercy of painters and illustrators, much too enthused by archaeological monuments and tombs to give the Upper Egyptians, their infrastructure, customs and garb, the time of day. As such, cameras and photography became supplements to Othering formerly colonized spaces, much…

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