Algeria, culture, Editions Chinois in Algiers, education, Ernst Landrock photographer, family, history, Levy freres, Mauretania, Neurdein Freres, photography, Rudolph Lehnert photographer, Tunisia, Women
In our previous post on the subject of Orientalist Photography, we covered the Neurdein Brothers as photographers. Here are some other photographers depicting the customs and people of the Maghreb (The Northern African-Arab Lands). A large number of these photographers around the turn of the century depicted women part-nude and this theme would be accepted as postcards around the early part of the Twentieth Century. Other full nude photo-postcards with no other than an erotic value would be sold in series to tourists, hotels, cruise ship personnel, etc. Never the less, the morals in the Islamic Lands do not seem to be much different from those in the so called Christian World where nudity of both sexes was as widespread as in Arab Lands.
What we rarely see are photos of women in burkas. When we find headdresses on women in these types of photos they are showing some type of scarf or head protection and a lot of jewelry but none of the more stringent Saudi type headdress and dress advocated by Sharia advocates.
This is the interesting thing about seeing and collecting photographs of that period. There was no photoshop or computer program available to manipulate reality! There was little media interference and political correctness like the overt intimidation by the facebook and twitter nation of journalists without training. Yes there was manipulation and photo collages but not in these photographs. Yes perhaps the same models were hired by the photographers to pose nude with a different type of jewelry, but these things also happen today.
The photo on the top of this post is by the Tunis based partnership, photographers Rudolph Lehnert (1878-1948) an Austrian and the German, Ernst Landrock (1878-1966). The top left corner has their intertwined LL mark. The back reads: Types d’Orient Serie III no. 2532 “Femme du Sud”
This photo is by the Levy Brothers (L.L.) who were staunch competitors to the Neurdein Brothers.Eventually they sold out to Neurdein.The card is of a thinner type.This wonderful pensive portrait of an Algerian woman is by a local photographer and labeled Collection Ideale P.S. The card is of the un-divided back type. An earlier photo than the others. The jewelry is worn in an absolutely natural fashion.
Produced by Editions Chinois in Algiers, this photo with the number 37 shows an Arab woman of the interior according to the legend. I wonder if this is a Kabyle woman from the way the headdress looks? But I am not sure about this. It is also the only colored card in this group of photographs. This field of photography still leads to major discoveries and was quietly ignored for many years until about the 1980’s. An excellent site in French is here.