The development of photography in its first years of existence: an history of the dissemination of photography as a form of documentation and an instrument of discovering and understanding the world and its people, through a wide selection of historic images taken in the Americas, Africa, the Middle East and Asia, between 1842 and 1896.
The catalogue is both a reflection of the exhibition and a publication that will act as a reference, with its assessment of the questions and thinking that arise from the research carried out for this project. It is not encyclopedic on the subject of the first photography practices in the world, it however provides a certain number of historical and technical elements, which give an understanding of the geopolitical circumstances in which photography was introduced then practiced in the different geographic areas of the world. The publication puts forward a global and documented vision of the practice of photography in the first decades of the medium, highlighting the key elements and chronological boundaries of the appropriation of photography outside of Europe. The publication also aims to present the work of local photographers and studios, in showing certain “original images” made in a particular region, while also outlining the role played by governments in power in the development and appropriation of this modern medium on a local scale.
The publication is made up of an essay by the curator introducing the intention of the exhibition and the main lines of thought, two essays by specialists of Asian and Middle Eastern photography, and a translation of Emir Abdelkader selection of texts on photography with commentary. The publication gives prominence to the works, coming mainly from the Musée du quai Branly collection, and also the Bibliothèque nationale de France, and the musée Guimet. The quality of the around 100 reproductions reveals the diversity of photographic objects presented in the exhibition (daguerreotypes, prints, albums, negatives). It also includes bibliographic entries of the photographers represented in the exhibition, entries for works of the exhibition, and a geo-historical chronology.
Published on the occasion of the eponymous exhibition organized by Louvre Abu Dhabi, the Musée du Quai Branly – Jacques Chirac and Agence France-Muséums, held at Louvre Abu Dhabi from April 25 to July 13, 2019.