Framing the colony: Houses of Algeria photographed

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Abstract

Photography constituted an important component of the visual culture that developed in the second half of the nineteenth century. This paper explores the role of photography in devising a short-hand to represent colonial Algeria, showing that the French occupation was intertwined with its early history. The new technology was used to make the colony visible in the metropole by endowing it with an easily recognizable image that could be disseminated efficiently. The Algerian house occupied a key place in the repertory of French photographers. The private realm of women and the family was perceived as the impenetrable nucleus of the colonized society and its conquest remained a struggle until the end of French rule in the mid-twentieth century. The courtyard, photographed over and over again, stood as an appropriate symbol; it was the heart of the house, architecturally picturesque, and relatively easy to photograph. The corner view, often crowded with posed figures, quickly, and enduringly, came to signify Algeria under French domination.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)616-626
Number of pages11
JournalArt History
Volume27
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Visual Arts and Performing Arts

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