Imaging the Orient
Image 1 / 3: Imaging the Orient.
Image 2 / 3: Imaging the Orient.
Image 3 / 3: Imaging the Orient.
“The Port of Constantinople”. “Cedars of Lebanon”. “The Place Where St. Stephen was Stoned to Death”. These and other photographs helped to construct the late 19th-century image of the imperial world – France’s international reach and the British Empire upon which the sun never set. Photographs by Francis Frith, Felix or Antonio Beato, J. Pascal Sebah, John Thompson, Constantine, the Abdullah Brothers and especially the prolific Maison Bonfils fed an international market for images of the East. “Imaging the Orient” explores the dual nature of a problematic word. “Orient” signifies the exotic “Other”, but the word derives from the same root as ‘origins.’ Europeans saw this relatively unknown portion of the globe as the source of modern ideology – Jerusalem as the birthplace of religion, Greece as the wellspring of philosophy, history, and art. This Short Stories exhibition explores how visual images work to refine and advance such ideological constructs, as well as interrogating their continuing power in the very different context of the present day.