In Pictures: Light from the Middle East

A contemporary photography exhibition in London offers insight into the diverse and fast-changing region.


London, UK - A major exhibition of Middle Eastern photography has opened in London combining the expertise and resources of two of Britain's most respected museums - the Victoria and Albert and the British Museum.

Organisers of the free exhibit at the Victoria and Albert Museum said more than 12,000 people visited in the first five days to see the 94 photographs by 30 artists from the Middle East.

For the show, the “Middle East'' is a purely geographic definition that ranges from North Africa to Turkey to Afghanistan, curator Marta Weiss explained.

Weiss designed the photo exhibition, which runs until April 7th, into three sections: recording, reframing and resisting. But there is a prelude: a photojournalism series from 1978-79 of the Iranian revolution by the iconic Iranian photographer Abbas.

Weiss said she included the Abbas photographs “to indicate that photography in the Middle East is not brand new, that it hasn't suddenly emerged from nowhere".

Weiss said the artists she's chosen for the show aren't photojournalists and they aren't just taking snapshots, but exploring what photography means on a deeper level.

She said the exhibit looks at “how photographs can be used for different purposes - propaganda, censored, or manipulated, and within the Middle East there is a heightened awareness of that due to the particular circumstances".