Orientalist Photography

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The Orientalist Photography Collection was created out of one individual’s efforts to preserve valuable historical information about the effects of Imperialism and Colonialism on the Arab world and make it a ccessible to all peoples. The archive houses five thousand photographic images and is still growing. It is a resource for present and future generations to learn from so as not to welcome or encourage Colonial Imperialism. This collection is an eye witness account of the effects of the western suppression of the Arab countries and people by the Turkish, French, English and Italians, all driven by self interest and exploitation.
The collection includes late nineteenth century and early twentieth century architecture in Arab cityscapes and natural landscapes. The photos bear witness to the scars left by the Ottoman empire , French and English. The collection includes postcards and albumen photographs. The majority of the albumen photos where taken by professional photographers, including the Zangaki brothers, Pascal Sabah and Lehnert & Landrock.
Orientalist photography (and painting) was born out of the westerners’ desire for entertainment and amusement. It capitalizes on portraying Arabs as savages in staged settings. One section of the collection, the Colonial Harem postcards, is a testimony to this notion. The Colonial Harem postcards were created primarily by French photographers. The models for these postcards were very young girls from north Africa, primarily Morocco , Alger ,  Tunis , and Egypt . The photographs were staged to duplicate the compositions of the western orientalist painters, embedding the false conception of the uncivilized Arab even deeper in the western psyche.   
The stereo-topical photographs of the Palestinian people and their lifestyle were created to target western Christians, many of whom never traveled from their homes but were curious about the birth place of Jesus.  

Lebanese Photo Bank البنك اللبناني للصورة

About Lebanese Photo Bank



  Lebanese Photo Bank documents the tragic history of Lebanon.  The collection comprises of fifty years of photographs, from the country’s birth in 1940s to 2008.  The Photo Bank houses the works of 63 photographers and more than 150,000 photographs, making it the largest and most comprehensive collection of Lebanese photography in the world.  Eleven of these photographers sacrificed their lives to take these images.  The photos capture the ravages of war and the fleeting moments of peace.  They portray a resilient and remarkable people, who defy the guns of invading armies and the horrors of civil war by surviving, and by rebuilding, time after time. 

The photographs in this collection tell the story of Lebanon.  They give raw, unflinching accounts of the last fifty years—they are the first drafts of Lebanon’s history.  And it is an extraordinary history. The early Lebanese state was a confabulation of Western designs, created for the imperial interests of Europe, notably the French and the English.  The country’s multi-confessional society—Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, Maronite Christians, Orthodox Christians, Druze, and more—was forged together by a quota system whereby each group was allotted a number of posts in government. This arrangement was to remain fixed over the years, despite demographic changes and aspirations for a popular, one-person one-vote democracy. 
Added to this volatile mix was a massive refugee population of Palestinians expelled from their homeland by the creation of Israel in 1948.  These Palestinians were legally invisible—they were not granted citizenship in Lebanon, nor were they allowed to return to their homeland. Palestinian guerrillas from Lebanon launched a low-intensity struggle with the Israeli regime to the south. Meanwhile, Lebanon’s various confessional groups competed for power and influence. The contradictions and tensions inherent in such as system exploded in the mid-seventies, creating one of the twentieth-century’s longest-lasting civil wars.
The civil war raged for 24 years, pitting every faction and confessional group against the other over the course of fighting.  To add insult to injury, Lebanon became of a chess piece for regional powers—Israel invaded repeatedly and occupied parts of the country, while Syria extended it’s influence by financing assassinations and proxy armies. 
Ceasefires came by 1989, but the country continued to explode in paroxysms of violence.  Repeated Israeli invasions turned much of the country to rubble, while Syria continued to be the eminence grise. 
The wars may have ended for now, but the healing has yet to begin. Healing can only occur when the sources of the conflict are examined and held accountable. Many in the Middle East call for the past to be buried, for the Lebanese people to start afresh. But without critically examining the country’s wars, the Lebanese people can never move on.  The Lebanese Photo Bank aims to help disinter the past and put it on trial, for all to see and learn from. 
Naim Farhat started this collection over twenty years ago when he came across images as he rummaged through his attic.  Over the years, Farhat rescued thousands of these images from oblivion.  The Farhat collection does not seek monetary gain from these images, but rather hopes that they will play a role in bring Lebanon’s history to account. For when the country is fully healed, the world will once again know Lebanon for its beauty, not its guns
By Anand Ghopal

William Mark Fisher

William Mark Fisher was born in Boston, MA in 1841. His family was poor, and he spent a good part of his childhood working. At the age of 14, he was apprenticed to his cousin – a sign and house painter – William Lawless. From this point on he began to study art – initially taking drawing classes during the winter months at the Lowell Institute.

By the age of 18 or 19, he was working as a portrait painter, and he had the good fortune of meeting George Cass, a student of the American landscape artist George Inness. Cass introduced Fisher to Inness, and he too began studying under the master. Fisher remarked that Inness found him to be “…a most promising youth and it was finally arranged I should go and stay with him as a pupil without fees.”

In 1863 Fisher met one of Inness’ patrons who proposed that he travel to Paris to continue his studies. He left for Paris and entered the atelier of Gleyre where met many other artists, including Sisley. After finishing his training, he returned to Boston and continued to paint, but his work, which had a more impressionist style to it, met with little success and he finally decide to leave for Europe again. By 1871 he was on his way, first landing in Brest and then moving on to Normandy.

In 1872, he left France and headed for England, where he would not only take up permanent residence, but also find great success. In Benjamin’s “Contemporary Art in Europe”, the author remarks that: “Mark Fisher, a Boston artist, who had to leave his native land in order to find the appreciation he deserves, has won a front rank in the landscape art of his adopted country, and seems to have no superior there in the interpretation of certain aspects of nature. Upon his arrival in England he took up residence in London, but soon found the countryside was more to his liking and moved to Sussex.”

By 1901 he was living in Hatfield Heath, where he would remain for the rest of his life. He was a frequent exhibitor at the Royal Academy – displaying his first work there in 1872 and continued to exhibit there until his death in 1923; showing more than 100 works (l). Fisher was elected A.R.A. in 1911 and a full member in 1919.

Among his exhibited paintings are: Noon (1872); Early Summer (1875); The Siesta (1877); Milking Time (1881); Early Summer – Sussex (1883); Environs of Algiers (1896); A Hampshire Village (1903); Ponds at Bexley (1906); Harlow Mill (1912); Cote d’azur (1913); White poplars: September (1915); Mont Canaille, Cassis (1917); and On the Shore at Emsworth (1921).

It is interesting to note that Fisher is considered one of the first artists to bring the Impressionist style to England and was noted by George Moore, in 1893, as being [England’s] greatest living landscape painter.

Fisher died on April 30, 1923.

This biography from the Archives of AskART

john singer sargent

This painting by J.S.Sargent is 16×20 inch oil on canvas. It shows the English soldiers in the middle of a battle during the WWI.
Born in Florence, Italy to a New England doctor and wife, John Singer Sargent became a leading portrait and figure painter of subjects in international society during the Gilded Age. Late in his career, he was a leading proponent of watercolor as a respectable medium for finished work.

His American parents lived in Europe most of their lives and followed the social season between the capital cities. Traveling continuously with his parents, he showed early art talent and was encouraged by his mother, an amateur painter. In Rome at age 12, he studied with Carl Welsch, a German-American artist and in 1870 at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Florence. In Paris, he was accepted in 1874 at the Ecole des Beaux Arts but switched to the less academically oriented atelier of Carolus Duran, who had major impact on Sargent’s style. Duran was an adventurous portrait painter who blended realism with a certain freedom of style.

Sargent was also affected by portrait style of Velasquez, the Tonalism or mood painting of James Whistler, and Impressionism of Edgar Degas. He spent time at Monet’s home town of Giverny, absorbing Impressionist techniques there.

Sargent’s career ended in Paris with his painting “Portrait of Mme X,” 1884, because it was a startlingly accurate portrayal of a notoriously beautiful woman who was Sargent’s cousin. Some said the pose was provocative, but aside from the reputation of the subject, there seems little reason from a late 20th century perspective to find the work controversial.

From 1885 until 1925, Sargent lived primarily in London where his career as a portrait painter was highly successful, but he traveled frequently to the United States where he also had many portrait commissions, especially from upper class Bostonians. However by 1908, he was expressing much tiredness with the demands on his talents and the need to flatter his subjects. He began to limit himself to charcoal portrait sketches and also painted murals. In the early 1890s, he began a twenty-five year mural project for the Boston Public Library and painted murals at the Widener Library.

In July 1918, he became a part of the War Artists Memorial Committee of the British Ministry of Information and went to France, in the vicinity of Bavincourt, at age 62 to record battle scenes and military figures. Working in both oil and charcoal, it was written about him that he “accepted his surroundings completely and went about his work as though quite accustomed to military life.” One of his associates wrote that he “came to wonder if Sargent had any idea how dangerous an exploding shell might be, for he never showed the least sign of fear.” (Mount 293)

His last years he devoted to Impressionist watercolors of European scenes and architecture. He found watercolor to be the most pleasureable outlet for his tremendous energy and compulsions to sketch what he saw around him. He was a man who lived for his work and aside from general socializing had had little private life beyond his family. He never married although “he had at times adored certain women, momentarialy finding in them a reflected image of what he sought” (Mount 323).

A major retrospective of Sargent’s portrait painting was held at the Tate Gallery in London in Fall, 1998.

Matthew Baigell, “Dictionary of American Art”
Charles Merrill Mount, “John Singer Sargent”

This biography from the Archives of AskART

Rinaldo (Richard) Cuneo (1877 – 1939)

Artist:Rinaldo (Richard) Cuneo (1877 - 1939) American / California  Oil on Canvas, measures 19x19 inches  Created c,1910  Titled: San Francisco  Farhat Art Museum Collection.

Artist:Rinaldo (Richard) Cuneo (1877 – 1939) American / California
Oil on Canvas, measures 19×19 inches
Created c,1910
Titled: San Francisco
Farhat Art Museum Collection.

Artist:Rinaldo (Richard) Cuneo (1877 - 1939) American / California  Oil on Canvas, measures 24x20 inches  Created c,1910  Titled: two men on the Scaffold / San Francisco  Farhat Art Museum Collection

Artist:Rinaldo (Richard) Cuneo (1877 – 1939) American / California
Oil on Canvas, measures 24×20 inches
Created c,1910
Titled: two men on the Scaffold / San Francisco
Farhat Art Museum Collection

Artist:Rinaldo (Richard) Cuneo (1877 - 1939) American / California  Oil on Canvas, measures 12x14 inches  Created c,1920 Farhat Art Museum Collection.

Artist:Rinaldo (Richard) Cuneo (1877 – 1939) American / California
Oil on Canvas, measures 12×14 inches
Created c,1920
Farhat Art Museum Collection.

Artist:Rinaldo (Richard) Cuneo (1877 - 1939) American / California  Oil on Canvas, measures 15x18 inches  Created c, 1932 Titled: Marin county  Farhat Art Museum Collection.

Artist:Rinaldo (Richard) Cuneo (1877 – 1939) American / California
Oil on Canvas, measures 15×18 inches
Created c, 1932
Titled: Marin county
Farhat Art Museum Collection.

Rinaldo Cuneo is one of the few California artists who has experimented in many different styles throughout his artistic career. He is one of the few artists who was never satisfied with his present achievement and was well aware of the artistic revolution and the world’s instability which occurred as a result of the First World War and which ended by the end of the Second World War.
This example of Piedmont Hills view of the Northern California Bay area is an early work by Rinaldo Cuneo which was from the early nineteenth hundreds after his return from France in nineteen-thirteen.
This view of Piedmont Hills is 20X24 inch oil on canvas by the artist Rinaldo Cuneo is is part of the American Impressionist Collection in The Farhat Art Musuem.

Other biography:-
Born in San Francisco to a family of artists, Cuneo studied at the Mark Hopkins Institute with Arthur Mathews, before attending the Academie Colarossi in Paris from 1911-1913. Upon his return to California, Cuneo’s works were well received at the Panama Pacific International Exhibition in 1915, and was involved in every major art exhibition in the San Francisco area from 1916-1939. Also during these years Cuneo was the subject of numerous one-man shows, including those in Rome, Los Angeles, London, and Paris.
Called “the Painter of San Francisco,” at the inaugural exhibition of the San Francisco Museum of Art in 1935, Cuneo had the most number of paintings displayed by any early California artist. In that same exhibition, his painting California Hills won the Museum’s Purchase Prize award.
A pure impressionist early in his career, Cuneo’s style constantly evolved throughout his life, as he was always seeking and assimilating new methods of representation.

Biography from William A. Karges Fine Art –
This biography is from the Archives of AskART