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Tuesday, October 19, 2021

QNL exhibition zooms in on history of photography in region


The unique exhibition includes rare examples of the first photographic printing techniques.

Qatar National Library [QNL] has launched its latest exhibition, exploring the beginnings of photography in the region.

“Between Science and Art: The Beginnings of Photography in the Middle East” exhibition focuses on the stories of early photographers, presenting models of archaeological images that summarise some of the most important moments in the region.

The mesmerising shots are considered one of the rarest collections in the world, given that they date back to the announcement of the discovery of photography in 1839.

“We are convinced that the scientific achievements that have been made in the world are achievements of the human mind and of human civilisation as a whole, and our exhibition today is a model of such joint work, and the result of the cooperation of cultures,” said the Minister of State and President of Qatar National Library Dr. Hamad bin Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari during the inauguration.

The unique exhibition also showcases the oldest and most rare photographs taken by the famous photographers.

Visitors will be able to feel the importance of such historical collections and witness the power and impact of photography on building the image of the “East” from the perspective of western civilisation.

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Photography enthusiasts will also get the chance to learn the journey of the camera’s development from the darkroom in the fifth century BC to the 19th century AD. They will also get to know more about the contributions of Arab and Muslim scientists in the invention of photography, and the first photographers with the “dagery” photographic technique in the Middle East.

During the integration ceremony, Al-Kuwari highlighted that the exhibition provides a “fruitful mode” for cooperation and integrations of cultures. He added that such art can be a catalyst for cultural harmony.

“As a national library that bears the responsibility of preserving the heritage of the region and the nation, we are convinced that the photography exhibition will be an ideal opportunity for visitors to learn more about the history of the Arab region through rare photos that take them on a journey to the past,” he added.

The official also added that the rare-photography display reflects the library’s heritage-focused vision, which includes the preservation of heritage and its accessibility to the public, including intellectuals, scholars, institutions, and individuals in order to enhance their creativity.

“Between Science and Art: The Beginnings of Photography in the Middle East” also includes holdings from QNL and Qatar Museums, including works by the pioneering French photographer Joseph Philibert Girault de Prangy (1804-1892) and the Giroux Daguerréotype, a unique example of the first commercial cameras.

It also includes presentation examples of the first-ever photographic printing techniques.

Those who wish to see the exhibition in person can do so by visiting the library from Saturday to Thursday, from 8am-8pm.

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