In keeping with this year's focus on Arab and Iranian photography, Paris Photo has dedicated the fair's central exhibition space to the Arab Image Foundation's collection, inviting curator Catherine David to select images from the archive. The exhibition of 55 photographs, by both professional and amateur photographers presents a rare vision of the modernizing Arab world and of the development of photographic practices in the region.
The Arab Image Foundation (AIF) will launch the first of a series of limited edition portfolios at Paris Photo. The AIF Guest Portfolio is a series of ten-image portfolios, each selected by a guest curator and issued in a limited edition of one hundred. Every guest reflects upon the Foundation's collection and provides a personal and distinct selection. The portfolios offer collectors, donors and friends of the foundation the chance to acquire prints from its collection and support its mission and programs. Having been a supporter of the Foundation for many years, Martin Parr is the first curator for the portfolios.
Parr said: "If you were to inquire about the specific history of Arab photography about 20 years ago, you would have hit a blank wall. There was virtually nothing to report…But then in 1997 the Arab Image Foundation was founded and started an ongoing campaign to locate and save photographic archives of the Arab world…Despite the fantastic start they have made, there is much more to be done. With the advent of digital cameras, analogue photography archives are disappearing at an alarming rate…Without the work of the Arab Image Foundation, a whole cultural history from the Arab world could have been entirely lost."
The exhibit will be on display at the Central Exhibition space of Paris Photo during the fair.
There will be a presentation of the Arab Image Foundation Guest Portfolio I in the presence of Martin Parr and the members of the Foundation on Friday, November 20th at 5 pm and a book signing of "Mapping Sitting: On Portraiture and Photography", edited by Karl Bassil, Zeina Maasri and Akram Zaatari, in collaboration with Walid Raad Hashem el Madani; "Studio Practices", edited by Karl Bassil, Lisa Le Feuvre and Akram Zaatari Hashem el Madani; and "Promenades", edited by Karl Bassil and Akram Zaatari on Saturday, November 21 at 6 pm. The Arab Image Foundation exhibition at Paris Photo is supported by Dupon Labs and the Lebanese Tourism Office in Paris.
The exhibition dates, which coincide with Paris Photo itself are from Thursday, November 19, 2009 to Sunday, November 22, 2009. The show is also open by invitation only on Wednesday, November 18 from 7-10 pm. Paris Photo and the AIF exhibition is located in the Carrousel du Louvre, 99 rue de Rivoli, 75001 Paris, France.