Nov 28, 2011

Rare Photos of Egypt from the 1870s

Sphinx & Pyramids of Chefren and Mankaura, Giza – Photograph via NYPL Digital Gallery

 

 
The New York Public Library has shared an incredible gallery of over 9,000 photographs and illustrations of the Middle East from the 17th century to the beginning of the 20th century. These include, books, albums and archival compilations.

Monuments of ancient Egypt and the Biblical world figured prominently in the early years of photography. French Academician François Arago (1786-1853) endorsed the new medium in 1839 claiming it would provide a labor-saving means “to copy the millions and millions of hieroglyphics which entirely cover the great monuments at Thebes, Memphis and Carnac, etc.” Immediately artist-travelers took chemicals, cameras, and photographic plates of metal, and later glass into the regions around the southeastern shores of the Mediterranean Sea, to record the famous sights that had been known previously to Westerners only through the intervention of the artist’s hand.

In addition to early photographic pioneers Du Camp, Salzmann, Robertson & Beato, and Frith, the collection includes work by image providers catering to tourist travelers in the last third of the 19th century, such as Arnoux, A. Beato, Bonfils, Lekegian, Sébah, and Zangaki. The selection offers resources for exploring Western impressions of the Middle East in that era through the lens of practitioners of the new medium of photography, and in turn through the expectations, preferences, and assumptions of its consumers.

Below is a curated selection of 30 photographs of Egypt from 1870-1875. Enjoy!
 

 

2. Cairo: Tombs of the Mamelukes to the citadel

 

 

 

3. The Al-Masalla Obelisk, Heliopolos (Cairo)

 

 

 

4. Alexandria

 

 

 

5. Tombs Chalifs, Lower Egypt

 

 

 

6. Cairo passage of Kasr-en-Nil [Qasr al-Nil]

 

 

 

7. Old Cairo: Sultan Hassan Mosque and the Citadel

 

 

 

8. Cairo: Garden of Ezbekieh [Azbakia]

 

 

 

9. Cairo: Mokattam, Giyuschi Mosque [al-Juyushi]

 

 

 

10. Tombs Chalifs, Kait Bay Mosque

 

 

 

11. Giza Pyramids and Tombs of Bedouins

 

 

 

12. View Towards the Pyramids of Giza

 

 

 

13. Route to Giza

 

 

 

14. Cairo: Kafr Near the Pyramids

 

 

 

15. Route to the Giza Pyramids

 

 

 

16. View of the Giza Pyramids

 

 

 

17. Climbing a Pyramid

 

 

 

18. Cairo: The Citadel and Mosque Mehemet Ali [Muhammad Ali Basha]

 

 

 

19. Cairo: Mosque el Azhar (the students)

 

 

 

20. Cairo Mosque el Mouaiyad [Mu'ayyad]

 

 

 

21. Brechin [el-Badrashin] Ramses II Colossus, Lower Egypt

 

 

 

22. Sakkara [Saqqara] Step Pyramid

 

 

 

23. Camels in the Desert

 

 

 

24. Luxor: The temple, Ramses statues

 

 

 

25. Luxor: Temple and Columns

 

 

 

26. Karnak: The Grand Temple

 

 

 

27. Karnak: The Grand Temple and Sacred Lake

 

 

 

28. Karnak Temple of Thothmes III [Tuthmosis III], the Statues of Amenhotep I

 

 

 

29. Thebes: Ramesseum, statues of Osiris

 

 

 

30. Phylae the Booth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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