Politics of Portraiture: The Studio of the Krikorians
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Ibrahim Dakkak Award for Outstanding Essay on Jerusalem is an annual award launched in 2017 to commemorate the memory and work of Ibrahim Dakkak (1929–2016), former chairman of the Advisory Board.


In 1839, Francois Arago publicized the invention of photography at Académie des sciences in Paris and highlighted the significant role it would play in copying “the millions of hieroglyphics which cover [ . . . ] the great monuments of Thebes, Memphis, and Karnak.”1 His statement demonstrates that, since its inception, photography was viewed not as an art, but rather as a kind of scientific procedure, a method of transmitting visual information. In the words of Paul Chevedden, photographs were first viewed as “re-creations of nature itself, unmediated reproduction of the real world fashioned by the direct agency of the sun.”2 Arago’s statement epitomizes the development of a European system of knowledge in mid-nineteenth century obsessed with categorizing, classifying, and explaining other parts of the world, particularly the Middle East. Indeed, it took only two years after the announcement for Noel Paymal Lerebours to exhibit images of Beirut, Damascus, and Egypt in his world travel survey, Excursions daguerriennes, making the Middle East the first region beyond Europe and the United States to be captured through camera lenses.3

There emerged afterwards a massive body of photographic work on the region mostly characterized by Orientalist undertones – representations of biblical sites, re-enacting of biblical stories, and an emphasis on seemingly timeless traditions.4 Literature on the topic adequately addresses such representations and their role in creating an image of the region as fixed in history, timeless, and in need of European intervention. While useful, this tendency in the literature to characterize early photography as monolithically Orientalist is at the cost of understanding, first, the differences among and between the works of early European photographers, and second, the important work of local photographers. In the words of Michelle Woodward, “the photographic visual conventions of late-nineteenth-century representations of the Middle East were, contrary to the emphasis of much scholarship, not monolithic or hegemonic, but rather reflect a complex range of perspectives – from fictional Orientalist clichés such as erotic harem scenes to the documentary images of modernization found in the Ottoman Sultan ‘Abd al-Hamid II’s photographic albums.”5

In this paper, I aim to move beyond this tendency by piecing together the story of one of the earliest local studios of photography in Jerusalem – that of the Krikorians – and its negotiation of a changing local landscape at the center of emerging imperial and colonial interests. The Krikorians were some of the early pioneers of photography in the Ottoman Empire and were particularly specialized in portraiture. The article draws on interviews I conducted with Samira Kawar, one of the grandchildren of Johannes Krikorian, and her collection of Krikorian photographs as well as the archives of the Library of Congress, the University of Pennsylvania museum, and recent literature on the topic. The paper is divided into three sections: the first section briefly narrates the “Story of the Krikorians”; the second, titled “Between Eastern and Western Lenses,” examines the Krikorians’ photographs in relation to other European photographs of Palestine from the same period; and the third, titled “Beyond East and West: The Krikorian and the Local Politics of Jerusalem,” grounds the Krikorian’s work in Jerusalem within its own context of nahda ideals and conceives of photography both as a symptom and participant of shifting social and economic dynamics within the Palestinian and Arab society. In lieu of a conclusion, “Reading Photography” discusses the question of intentionality when reading historical records, including photographs. Overall, the article shows how the Krikorians’ work was in conversation with the works of their contemporary European photographers as well as with the shifting dynamics in their home society.

The Story of the Krikorians

The story of the competition between Garabed Krikorian, the teacher, and Khalil Raad, the student, is perhaps the most well known of the former’s legacy. Khalil Raad, who is credited as being the earliest Arab photographer in Palestine, learned photography at the hands of Krikorian. A few years later, in 1890, Raad opened a studio next to Krikorian’s on Jaffa road in Jerusalem, starting a chapter of ferocious competition between the two commercial studios (figure 1) that ended with Krikorian’s son, Johannes, marrying Raad’s niece. Beyond this, the story of the Krikorians and their photography remains neglected in much of the literature. Although by no means exhaustive, this section tries to piece it together.


Figure 1. Photo shows signs for “J. Krikorian” and “C. Raad” photo studios, next to each other on the left. Source: Matson Photo Service, Library of Congress


Garabed Krikorian was an Armenian who came to Jerusalem from Anatolia, possibly Izmir. He was first based at the Church of St. James compound in the Old City of Jerusalem, where the Armenian Patriarch, Issay Garabedian, was offering photography lessons to youngsters who would later go on to practice professionally and lead the local photography scene. Garabedian played a pivotal role in the expansion of photography throughout the Ottoman Empire in the nineteenth century.6 He came to Jerusalem around 1844 and started photography in 1857. He traveled frequently to sharpen his skills and learn of new developments in photography, and spent twenty-eight years of his life conveying this knowledge to younger generations. His goal was to use photography to educate Armenians about the holy sites as well as the architectural and archaeological heritage in Armenia. Both the Baedeker travel guide to Palestine and Syria (1876) and the French traveler, Jules Hoche (1884) highlight the presence of a photographic culture “unique to Jerusalem within the Armenian community.”7 It is important to note here that most of photography’s earliest production in Egypt, Palestine, and Lebanon came largely from religious and ethnic minorities such as Armenians and Syriac Catholics. Issam Nassar points out that this may be partially due to Islamic (and Jewish) prohibition on capturing photos of people and beings created by God.8

Garabed Krikorian was one of Garabedian’s most notable students. At the church, he met Karimah Tannous, a novice with a Lutheran order from Lebanon (figure 2). They fell in love and decided to get married – and were consequently ex-communicated from the church.9 It is perhaps thereafter that Krikorian opened his studio on Jerusalem’s Jaffa Road in the 1870s. His work was mostly portraiture and involved photographing local personalities, tourists, and pilgrims. He became most famous after the visit of Kaiser Wilhem II to the Holy Land in 1898, for whom Krikorian, along with Daoud Saboungi of Jaffa, acted as official photographers (figure 3).10 While most of his photographs were signed “G. Krikorian,” some others were signed “G. Krikorian & D. Saboungi,” indicating further collaboration between the two local photographers.


Figure 2. Mrs. Krikorian, Karimah. Source: Aida and Samira Kawar personal collection.


Figure 3. State visit to Jerusalem of Wilhelm II of Germany in 1898. Turkish military brass band in procession to German camp. Source: American Colony (Jerusalem), Library of Congress


Meanwhile, the competition continued between Khalil Raad and Garabed Krikorian until around 1913, when Krikorian’s son, Johannes, returned from Germany where he had studied photography. Johannes Krikorian was a man of many talents with a vivid admiration for the arts. He played the piano and loved opera, hence the name of his daughter, Aida, named after Verdi’s Aida. He took over his father’s studio and married Raad’s niece, Najla. From a very young age, Najla Najim Raad came to Jerusalem with her mother, Sarah, after losing contact with her father, who had migrated to the United States. They stayed with her uncle, Khalil Raad, in his house in Jerusalem. At an older age, Najla changed her last name from Najim to Raad, as her uncle was the father figure in her life; she had never met her own father who migrated to the United States when her mother was pregnant with her. Not surprisingly then, her marriage marked the end of the ferocious competition between the two families and the beginning of a new chapter in their history.11

According to personal interviews I conducted, Najla played a pivotal role in the studio that ranged from preparing the costumes for tourists, to coloring photographs (figures 4 and 5). In the first photo, which is of Najla’s daughter, Aida, in her teenage years, we see Najla’s talent in painting. Najla’s attention to details is exquisite. The nails, the jewelry, the clothes, the hand purse, the background of the photo, and the skin are carefully colored to convey a realistic and colorful representation. The second photo, which is of Aida as a young girl and her cousins during a family picnic, is from much earlier and shows Najla’s earlier attempts at coloring. While some of the outfits are colored, others are left uncolored, giving – perhaps unintentionally – an artistic aura to the photograph. Between these two photographs, we see Najla’s coloring in its different stages and can only speculate as to the enormity of the hard work and time she put into perfecting her talents.


Figure 4. Aida, Johannes Krikorian’s and Najla Raad’s daughter. Source: Aida and Samira Kawar collection


Figure 5. Aida and her cousins on a family picnic. Source: Aida and Samira Kawar collection


A few scholars have offered important contributions on the role of women in the development and expansion of photography. In his article “Early Local Photography in Palestine: The Legacy of Karimeh Abbud,” for example, Nassar highlights Abbud’s pioneering role in the 1920s not only as the first woman professional photographer, but also as one of the first to challenge “European style traditions in portrait art and photography.”12 Nonetheless, the topic is yet to be fully examined and much work needs to be done to fill in the lacunae that relate to gender. Najla’s (and many other women’s) often neglected role raises important questions about the gendered silences in historical documents and records. It also points to new directions for scholars to take in piecing together historical narratives that move beyond confining women to the sphere of domesticity, as figures living in the shadows of men.13 Many of the early portraits of families in Jerusalem give this perfect representation of a patriarchal family, with the father as the head figure and the mother as fulfilling her motherly and spousal duties, surrounded by her children. The quotidian realities underneath such a perfect representation were surely messier, and likely often disrupted and subverted such representations. The silences a portrait photo contains are as suggestive as the visual representations it conveys.

These systematic silences are also reflected in the looting of historical Palestinian cultural production. Like most Palestinians, Johannes and Najla Krikorian lost most of their possessions in 1948, including the costumes, photography collections, and equipment. The studio itself was destroyed. Luckily, some of the photographs survived. Aida, who is Samira Kawar’s mother, owned an extensive collection of family portraits; the Library of Congress has a few photographs of Garabed Krikorian’s; and Joseph Malikian has another small collection of Krikorian photographs. Shortly after the Nakba, Johannes Krikorian died of cancer, around 1951.

Between Eastern and Western Lenses

Photography is simultaneously a byproduct and a tool of the nineteenth century’s passion for explaining the world in scientific and empirical terms. In the words of Woodward, “the photograph’s ability to record more life-like detail than any other process led to its use as a tool for accumulating visual surveys of urban space, historical monuments, colonial possessions, and people as ethnic or occupational types.”14 In many early European photographs, the Middle East was often portrayed as vacant of people, full of biblical sites. When the native did figure in the photograph, they were almost exclusively shown either as traditional types in traditional outfits or as engaging in timeless activities (including acting out biblical stories).


Figure 6. Photograph titled Road of Bethanie taken by the Bonfils. Source: the Artstor Digital Library


A clear example of this is the work of the prolific French family, the Bonfils, whose main studio was located in Beirut. The Bonfils family traveled extensively and created one of the largest bodies of photographic work of the Middle East. As their photographs show, they “preferred to photograph people as recognizable ‘types’, posed as if engaged in traditional and timeless activities, such as brewing coffee, selling produce, praying or playing musical instruments.”15 Often, they added a biblical verse under the photo to describe it, indicating that the region is still of the past. Figure 6 shows a photograph of a man on a mule riding on the road from Jerusalem to Bethany (present day al-‘Ayzariya) with al-Aqsa mosque in the background. The photograph is titled “Road of Bethanie” and bears a caption from the New Testament: “And when they drew high unto Jerusalem, and were come to Bethphage, unto the Mount of Olives, and then sent Jesus two disciples,’ Matth. XXI. 1.”


Figure 7. Aida and her cousins playing. Source: Aida and Samira Kawar collection


Commenting on this, Woodward states, and rightfully so, that the Bonfils family’s work was explicitly “created for the purpose of capturing what they saw as a timeless unchanging Orient on the verge of disruption by modernity.”16 To them, the present of the region was only its past and only under modernity and its paradigms of “Progress” could the present of the region count. Adrien Bonfils leaves us with no doubts about the family’s intentions when he states: “Before that happens, before Progress has completed its destructive work, before this present – which is still the past – has disappeared forever, we have tried, so to speak, to fix and immobilize it in a series of photographic views.”17 Succinctly put, the Bonfils were not interested in capturing the region as it was at the time. Rather, they were interested in using photography to recreate their preconceived images of the region. The natives appear only when they fit their narrative: as actors of a biblical scene, traditional crafters, traditional types, and the like.

The Krikorian collection does not fully transcend Orientalist modes of representation. As many other local owners of commercial studios in the Ottoman Empire, including Pascal Sebah in Istanbul and Daoud Saboungi in Jaffa, the Krikorians had to contend with Western tourists’ appetite for Orientalist tropes. In many photos, both by Garabed and Johannes, Western tourists are dressed in traditional, embroidered costumes carrying traditional tools such as a sword or a water jar. In one photo, a Western tourist is shown sitting on a chair, while being surrounded by four “natives,” suggesting a sense of superiority towards the local population.18 Nonetheless, these photos are utterly different from the Bonfils’ in that the latter’s collection has a Western ethnographic gaze focused on classifying, describing, and capturing a “native society” on the verge of modernity. The Krikorians, on the other hand, merely utilized Orientalist representations for commercial purposes.

This is not the only difference between the Bonfils and the Krikorians, aside from their different positionalities and relationships to the region. The Krikorians’ collection includes photographs that profoundly disrupt the Bonfils’ narrative of a timeless local population in Palestine. These are photographs of urban families in Jerusalem, including their own, undergoing transformations and changes, and trying – both intentionally and unintentionally – to articulate the new, modern, and urban Arab subject. The Aida and Samira Kawar collection gives us glimpses into the private sphere of the Krikorians’ life. It shows the mundane: families gathering and cross-dressing and children playing and posing. There are portraits of Karimah and Garabed Krikorian, and photographs of: Aida and her cousins playing, Aida playing on the veranda of their home in Jerusalem; Najla Raad dressed in a Bedouin outfit; Aida with her mother and grandmother; and Aida in her teenage years. These are photographs aimed at visually recording the dynamic history of a family in Jerusalem. To their owners, they portray the private sphere, a personal history, and figures and faces tied to a genealogy of memories. In my interview with Samira, it was also obvious that, to her, these photographs present a vivid and powerful proof of their life, their former house, and the studio on Jaffa Road in Jerusalem – with the costumes, photos, slides, and coloring tools lost in 1948 when both their studio and house fell within no man’s land following the invasion of Jerusalem by the Zionist militias. In 1926, the family had already moved from their house on Jaffa Street, which was adjacent to the studio, to their house in al-Baq‘a,19 which they continued to live in until the first decade of the 2000s. In this sense, these photographs, as Azoulay and Sheehi suggest,20 can be read as a legal document that testifies to the Krikorians’ claims to their studio and looted or destroyed photographs. These photographs of the mundane and the everyday, therefore, function simultaneously as rebuttals of Orientalist representations of Palestine before 1948 and of the Zionist settler-colonial claims about the vacancy of the land and the backwardness of its people.

Beyond East and West: The Krikorians and the Local Politics of Jerusalem

A comparison between Western and local photographs of Palestine is not sufficient to understand the social history of the photograph, as it neglects the local social and political dynamics within which the photograph was produced and circulated. When put within their wider context of social, economic, and political changes, photographs can give clues about how people saw themselves and the construction of a new, Arab, modern subject between the 1850s and 1910s. Based on the writings of Salim Tamari, and of Stephen Sheehi, this section offers a brief local context of the Krikorians’ photographs. It benefits profoundly from Sheehi’s polemic book, The Arab Imago: A Social History of Portrait Photography, 1860–1910, and its description of local photographers of the region as important social engineers of their historical moment. It is beyond the ambitions of this paper to offer a comprehensive history of class formation in Palestine during the latter stages of the Ottoman period. The goal is instead to account for the local context of the Krikorians and point the reader towards important discussions about the connection between photography, class, and structures of political and social governance.

In his book, Sheehi argues that “Arab photography, like all cultural productions, must be understood within the context of al-nahdah [Arab renaissance], itself contingent on Osmanlilik modernity. It must be understood as a product of its own history.”21 Sheehi understands the portraiture, which the Krikorians were specialized in, as a symptom of nahda ideology and its reification of modernity’s ideals of individualism, social success, secular civil society, positivism, and so on.22 In his analysis, the portrait is not understood as static but as elastic and performative. The portrait zooms in on the individual, includes signifiers of local associations and successes (the clothes, the posture, and the items), and its arrangements of things and people can be suggestive of politics of gender and class.

The portrait in Jerusalem emerged within a regional context of changing social and political relations and the increasing inequality in land ownership between the urban elites and the villagers. The urban elite were able to articulate and express their modern identity by consolidating their access to material means, particularly land. The commodification of land under the Land Code of 1858 was most instrumental in this regard.23 Although we should be careful not to overemphasize the causal role of legal instruments in facilitating the day-to-day relations amongst people, for as Doumani suggests, “relations of patronage between landlords and peasants persisted despite imperial decree,”24 such instruments played a pivotal role in reconceptualizing land ownership within the rural sphere and in consolidating the power of the urban elite. The effect of the Land Code at the societal level was its intensification of class divides within Palestine and the rise of effendiya – the merchant and intellectual classes – who arose by “accumulating new levels of wealth, consolidating ownership of unprecedented amounts of land, and leveraging this wealth to negotiate with the new system of provincial Ottoman administration.”25

Yet, when looking at Palestinian society in this period, it is no easy task to delineate a clear genealogy of class formation. As Tamari notes, “despite these hierarchal cleavages and disparities in wealth, Palestinian society was still divided by lineage units and other forms of kinship and quasi-kinship identification in which class formations were hardly visible.”26 Concisely put, Palestinian subjectivity was mediated through a plethora of identifications including the city-village divide, “regional loyalties, religious affiliations, and clan affiliations.”27

Like other local photographers, the Krikorians were photographing as these changes were well in place. They thrived, as Sheehi argues, “because they were involved in reproducing the economic and social transformations in their localities.”28 Local photographers also maintained a proximity to structures of religious, social and political governance that gave them notable access. Garabed Krikorian, for example, was involved in photographing the trip of Kaiser Wilhlem II to Jerusalem; Khalil Raad, Krikorian’s student, was an official photographer for the Ottoman army;29 and Pascal Sebah was heavily involved in producing Ottoman Sultan Abd al-Hamid II’s photographic albums aimed at showcasing Ottoman modernity.30

The Krikorians also photographed local personalities who were instrumental in effecting these changes. A case in point is the photograph of Effendi Faydi al-Alami with his son and daughter at the Krikorian studio. In his official outfit, he poses for the camera, holding a rolled pile of papers signifying his role as a registrar of land ownership and taxation. Sheehi rightfully argues that, in this official capacity, al-Alami was directly involved in the commodification of land ownership and in shifting the social and economic relations in Palestine.31

By virtue of belonging to this urban circle of elites, the Krikorians were involved in solidifying a shifting political economy. Their portraits in and of themselves became material representations of individual success, as suggested in the portraits of al-Alami and Tawfiq Kanaan, among others. They were reproductive of social and political status but also productive in that they were intricately tied to a specific segment of Jerusalemites. It is perhaps not a coincidence that we neither have access to portraits of subjects from the nearby villages, nor do we have historical documents that convey to us how villagers adapted to these socioeconomic changes, epitomized by the portrait. The portrait in its silence, yet again, points us to more questions than answers.

Reading Photography

Contrary to the belief of many early Orientalist photographers, photographs are not mere recreations of nature itself. They are embedded in power relations, not only between the photographer and the photographed, but also between the photograph and its social, economic, and political context. The photograph speaks different tongues, depending on the web of texts, historical facts, observations, and ideas one brings in conversation with it. “The meaning and social currency of photographic portraiture,” in specific, “is not forged in the moment of sitting, during the photograph’s circulation, or even exchange.”32 Rather, it is the afterlife of the photograph that highlights it as an arena of elaboration for a specific historical moment.

In their commercial studio, the Krikorians produced a body of work that spoke to their moment. They had to contend with the high demand for Orientalist representations by Western tourists, giving them the option to cross-dress. Although unanswerable, the question of intentionality is still important, for we do not know whether or not the Krikorians were aware of the implications of such representations. Even though it is tempting for the historian to assume their clear intention in coopting Orientalist representations for commercial gains, it is more likely they simply wanted their products to be sellable.

The Krikorians also left behind a personal collection as well as portraits of local personalities. These function as rebuttals of colonial and settler-colonial representations. They also offer us a glimpse into the changing social and economic landscape of Jerusalem. The portraits come together to offer us a glimpse into a complex social life, pointing us to more questions than answers.

Hashem Abushama is a Rhodes Scholar and a doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment. His research looks at the politics of recognition within Palestinian cultural production, particularly the alternative music scene, in the post-Oslo period. He is the recipient of the Open Society Foundation’s Civil Society Scholar Award 2019. He holds an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford, and a BA in Peace and Global Studies from Earlham College in Indiana.



1 Francois Arago as cited in Michelle L. Woodward, “Between Orientalist Clichés and Images of Modernization: Photographic Practice in the Late Ottoman Era,” History of Photography 27, 4 (2003): 364.

2 Paul E. Chevedden, “Making Light of Everything: Early Photography of the Middle East and Current Photomania” Middle East Studies Association Bulletin 18, 2 (1984): 151.

3 Stephen Sheehi, The Arab Imago: A Social History of Portrait Photography, 1860–1910 (Princeton University Press, 2016), introduction.

4 For more, see Ayshe Erdogu, “The Victorian Market for Ottoman Types,” History of Photography 23, 3 (1999): 269–73. See also Sarah Graham-Brown, Images of Women: The Portrayal of Women in Photography of the Middle East, 1860-1950 (Quartet Books, 1988).

5 Michelle L. Woodward, “Between Orientalist Clichés and Images of Modernization: Photographic Practice in the Late Ottoman Era,” History of Photography 27, 4 (2003.): 363; online at doi.org/10.1080/03087298.2003.10441271 (accessed 17 March 2020).

6 Badr al-Hajj, “Khalil Raad – Jerusalem Photographer,” Jerusalem Quarterly, 11–12 (2001): 36, onlilne at www.palestine-studies.org/en/node/78083 (accessed 17 March 2020).

7 Baedeker Travel Guide and Hoche as cited in Badr al-Hajj, “Khalil Raad,” 37.

8 Issam Nassar, Laqatat Mughayirah [Different Snapshots: The History of Early Local Photography in Palestine] (Abdel Mohsin al-Qattan Foundation, 2005). See also by Nassar, Photographing Jerusalem: The Image of the City in Nineteenth Century Photography (Boulder: East European Monographs,1997); and “Early Local Photography in Palestine: The Legacy of Karimeh Abbud,” Jerusalem Quarterly, 46 (2011), online at
www.palestine-studies.org/en/node/78422 (accessed 17 March 2020).

9 Personal communication with Samira Kawar.

10 For more on the Kaiser’s visit to Jerusalem, see Klaus Polkehn, “Zionism and Kaiser Wilhelm,” Journal of Palestine Studies, 4, 2 (1975): 76–90.

11 Personal interview with Samira Kawar.

12 Issam Nassar, “Early Local Photography in Palestine: The Legacy of Karimeh Abbud,” Jerusalem Quarterly, 46 (2011).

13 Some authors have offered insights into the representation of Arab women in images, highlighting the different modes of objectification at play. See, for example, Graham-Brown, Images of Women. These are important contributions, but they fall short when it comes to accounting for the subjective role of women in photography.

14 Woodward, “Between Orientalist Clichés and Images of Modernization,” 364.

15 Woodward, “Between Orientalist Clichés and Images of Modernization,” 366.

16 Woodward, “Between Orientalist Clichés and Images of Modernization,” 368.

17 Woodward, “Between Orientalist Clichés and Images of Modernization,” 368.

18 See Joseph Malikian, “Middle East and Armenian Photographic Studios from 1850–1960,” online at malikianphotography.com (accessed 17 March 2020).

19 For more on al-Baq‘a and its history, see Issam Nassar, “A Liminal Existence in Jerusalem: al-Baq‘a 1949,” Jerusalem Quarterly, 36 (2009).

20 See Sheehi, The Arab Imago, ch. 7, and Ariella Azoulay, The Civil Contract of Photography (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012).

21 Sheehi, The Arab Imago, xxv.

22 Sheehi, The Arab Imago, 150.

23 See Salim Tamari, Mountain against the Sea: Essays on Palestinian Society and Culture (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2008), 5. It is important to note here that, as Tamari suggests, the Jerusalem elite were different from elites in other cities in Palestine in their adaptation of the Land Code in that, for the most part, they were not absentee landlords. However, there were still personalities from the urban elite of the city who greatly benefited from the commodification of land. One example is al-Alami and his purchase of a piece of land in a village nearby Jerusalem to build a summer home, which Sheehi discusses at a great length in chapter 7 of his book.

24 Beshara Doumani, Rediscovering Palestine: Merchants and Peasants in Jabal Nablus, 1700–1900 (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995) as cited in Tamari, Mountain Against the Sea, 5.

25 Sheehi, The Arab Imago, xxvi.

26 Tamari, Mountain against the Sea, 5.

27 Tamari, Mountain against the Sea, 5.

28 Sheehi, The Arab Imago, xxvi.

29 Nassar, Laqatat Mughayirah., 55.

30 Woodward, “Between Orientalist Clichés and Images of Modernization.”

31 By connecting this photograph to historical records about al-Alami, Sheehi offers a nuanced analysis of the manifest and latent underpinnings of the portrait. For more, see ch. 7 in Sheehi, The Arab Imago.

32 Sheehi, The Arab Imago, 148.

Author biography: 

Hashem Abushama is a Rhodes Scholar and a doctoral candidate at the University of Oxford’s School of Geography and the Environment. His research looks at the politics of recognition within Palestinian cultural production, particularly the alternative music scene, in the post-Oslo period. He is the recipient of the Open Society Foundation’s Civil Society Scholar Award 2019. He holds an MSc in Refugee and Forced Migration Studies from the University of Oxford, and a BA in Peace and Global Studies from Earlham College in Indiana.