The exhibition “Between Science and Art: Early Photography in the Middle East” has successfully concluded with hundreds of visitors exploring the exhibition between September and December 2021. The exhibition was inaugurated by His Excellency Dr. Hamad Bin Abdulaziz Al-Kawari, Minister of State, Qatar and President of Qatar National Library, in the presence of His Excellency Jean-Baptiste Faivre, Ambassador of the French Republic to the State of Qatar.
The exhibition took visitors on a journey into the history of photography, from the invention of the camera obscura by Arab scholar Ibn al-Haytham (354 – 430 AH/965 – 1040 CE) in the 11th century, to the advent of photomechanical printing in the 19th century.
The exhibition showcased some of the earliest and rarest photographic images of the Middle East, taken by travelers, scholars and archaeologists who practiced the daguerreotype, which was the first commercially successful photographic process invented in 1839 by Frenchman Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre (1787 – 1851).
The exhibition hosted objects from both the Library and Qatar Museums collections, such as works by pioneer French photographer Joseph-Philibert Girault de Prangey (1804 – 1892) and the “Giroux Daguerréotype”, a rare example of the first commercially produced camera.
Though the exhibition is closed, the Heritage Library’s rich collection of valuable historical texts and manuscripts can be accessed by researchers, historians and the general public in person and online. Future exhibitions and events will continue to spread historical knowledge about the region’s heritage to future generations.
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