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Mapping Sitting: On Portraiture And Photography
Edited by Karl Bassil, Zeina Maasri and Akram Zaatari in Collaboration with Walid Raad.
Setting up on a sunny day at the beach or snapping a passport photo, the studio photographer measures out his working day in repeated frames, fixing the ordinary customer on film. Addressing the enduring value of these portraits and the viewer's common humanity with the subjects is the aim of Mapping Sitting, a collection of studio photographs, primarily from the 1950s and 1960s, that shows an Arab world that defies stereotypes. Drawn from the archives of the Arab Image Foundation, whose mission is to rescue and preserve indigenous Arab photography, and curated by two Lebanese-born artists, Walid Raad and Akram Zaatari, these photographs provide a moving mosaic of Middle Eastern men and women posing in the studio, lounging on the sand, or goofing around on bikes. There are also pages of carefully indexed passport photos, which become charged with meaning in a post-9/11 world.
The exhibition from which Mapping Sitting was drawn, mounted at the Grey Art Gallery in New York, was widely reviewed in publications such as The New York Times and New York Magazine.