The Diversity of Photographic Viewpoints on and from the Middle East

Joan E. García Biosca


The first pictures of the Middle East were taken in 19th-century, and the visual approach sought to establish nothing less than the reliability and veracity of Bible stories. Many travellers from Europe and United States went to the Middle East to experience first-hand those sites full of history and religious meaning. Afterwards, when the State of Israel was proclaimed in 1948, photography was called to play a key role when publicising the successes achieved in this new country and promoting emigration towards Palestine. Many photographers born or living in the country had their own studios or worked for the local press. The expansion of the printed press opened the doors to the emergence of two new forms of photographic expression: photojournalism and documentary photography. In this context, the photographs taken by Father Ubach and his assistants, monks of the Montserrat Abbey in Catalonia, belong to the genre of biblical photography but also adopt other enriching points of view and influences.

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