hamburg

Akram Zaatari

Galerie Sfeir-Semler

When the Hamburg gallery Sfeir-Semler opened an exhibition space in Beirut two years ago, it began to show the work of artists from the Middle East, including Akram Zaatari, one of the founders of the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut. The foundation’s aim is to research and archive the photographic history of the Middle East; it holds the collections of numerous photographers, including the archives of Hashem el Madani (born in 1928), which contains approximately 150,000 portraits. For his exhibition in Hamburg, Zaatari selected and reprinted images from the archive of Madani’s Studio Shehrazade in Saida, Lebanon. These photographs date from the ’50s through the ’70s, the time of the studio’s greatest commercial success.

In one group of photographs, candidates for military training are shown from the front and in profile, as in mug shots; the portraits were submitted by their subjects to

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