She Who Tells A Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World by Kristen Gresh is a fascinating compilation of the work of twelve renowned women photographers from throughout the Arab world. There are more than 100 photographs reproduced in this volume, accompanied by essays, stories, and personal narratives from and about the photographers and their work. The photographs highlight the changing landscape of the Arab world by documenting mostly everyday people, experiences, and environments.
The photos vary widely in style and composition. Some are manipulated with color and wild effects. Several are stark, and some are purposely blurred. Still others contain elements of humor. Those of Nernine Hammam from Egypt are surreal, almost dreamlike. She digitally layers and manipulates the images of soldiers and tanks, inserting backgrounds of mountains, flowers, Japanese silkscreens, even vintage postcards. The colors are vibrant, the subjects often smiling from atop their tanks, holding guns. Art and war are combined into something striking.
The photos of Gohar Dashti from Tehran, Iran, are family portraits of life in the Middle East. The subjects are often shot doing everyday things like watching television, hanging laundry, having tea, but the normality of their actions is juxtaposed against backgrounds of tanks, laundry on barbed wire, house walls made of sandbags illuminating the harshness of the reality of living in a land often torn by war and protest. Dashti's photos are muted and beautiful and offer up a sort of social commentary in their simplicity.
If you are interested in seeing these photographs for yourself, you can request this volume from the Ort Library catalog here: http://catalog.umd.edu/docno=004349400.
Click on "Availability", then click on the yellow "Request" button, and log in using your last name and 14-digit Library barcode number on your ID. If you need assistance, please contact the Circulation Desk at 301-687-4395.
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