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Thanks! (6 reply/replies)

Susan Dirgham
11 years ago Susan Dirgham

Hi Mike, Thanks for starting this group! All the albums look great. I suppose one question I think is worth asking in regard to taking photos in the Middle East is do we focus purely on the exotic and colorful or pay some attention to youth, the everyday, the modern. Is the writing of Edward Said on orientalism at all relevant to photographers and in what way might his writing influence our portrayal of people and cultures in the Middle East? We have many people from the Middle East living in Australia now, so the exotic is no longer exotic. In some cases it is just a dress that can be changed at a border, or not.

Michiel de Lange
11 years ago Michiel de Lange

Thank you for joining the MENA group. Your work is an exceptional example of the qualities I would consider to fit the purpose of the group perfectly, i.e. "travel and documentary". I must admit that I'm not familiar with the writings of Edward Said, but if I read your core question correctly, I would have to think that this group should be open for all of the diverse qualities of the MENA region, historic and contemporary, rural and urban, traditional and contemporary, the "Arabian Nights Fantasy" and the harsh realities of political instability. If any visitor to this group can view a wide selection of subject matter and leave with a more balanced opinion of what the MENA region is about, I think this group has achieved it's goal. I sense that your question has some very interesting reasoning behind it that I'd like to learn more about. Best regards - Mike

Susan Dirgham
11 years ago Susan Dirgham

Hi Mike, It's great to have this conversation with you! I agree with you - I wouldn't want photos to be excluded from view because they may be presenting the more exotic sides of that world or a fantasy etc. (Perhaps we should have more fantasy presented in our world, too!) It is good to have the diverse world presented in so many different images. (If you are interested in reading Edward Said, "Covering Islam" is a great place to start.)

Michiel de Lange
11 years ago Michiel de Lange

I'm glad you agree. I notice that you still have some other albums of images from Damascus, which I really think is worth sharing in this group. Please consider submitting those too. You mention that you've stayed in Damascus before. It's without a doubt one of my favorite destinations (I've been there twice) and was also considering moving there at one stage, but our business opportunities didn't materialize. How did you experience life in Syria?

Susan Dirgham
11 years ago Susan Dirgham

Hi Mike, I'm so so happy to meet other people who know and love (?) Damascus! The last year we were there, we lived in a flat on the fourth floor with a terrace looking out toward Mt Qassioun, so that part of it was brilliant. And because I had a teaching job, I got to meet and befriend a lot of local people, and close friends draw me back there. Actually I've written a lot about my responses to life in Syria with photos. See I hope to return this October September. By the way,passing through Dubai I have stayed in the Alhijaz Motel, near the gold market. Do you know it? It is a traditional Arabic style building and a meeting place for the local Somalian community. Friendly and interesting. I will add more albums! Thanks for the suggestion. Best wishes.

Susan Dirgham
11 years ago Susan Dirgham

Hi again, Thoughts on Damascus etc can be found on pool.org.au/users/susandirgham if you are interested

Michiel de Lange
11 years ago Michiel de Lange

I'll have a look at your thoughts. I don't know the particular hotel, but I know the area (Al Ras) very well. I often go there for capturing the more rustic side of Dubai. Lots of real life atmosphere there... Regards