Photographing the Arab city in the 19th Century presents more than 50 photographs from the CCA collection, taken by amateurs, pilgrims, scientific and commercial photographers, marking the beginnings of the medium in the Middle East and North Africa. It is both a historical and cultural document, as it shines a light on how European travelers viewed, via their cameras, the traditional Islamic city. Curated by Jorge Correia, Associate Professor at the School of Architecture, University of Minho in Portugal, it offers a different take, as it were, on the often-negative image of the Oriental world as disorderly, chaotic, and even unhealthy. This is, not surprisingly, considering the venue, an architecturally framed presentation, focusing on the urban planning and landscape of the cities, accentuating the tradition and culture behind the construction of the buildings and monuments. From a panoramic view of the Syrian coastal city of Latakia, through the Tombs of the Caliphs in Cairo, to the streets of ancient Tangiers, the black-and-white photographs are unexpectedly nostalgic and poignant.

Photographing the Arab city in the 19th Century
30 January to 25 May 2014

Canadian Centre for Architecture
1920, rue Baile
Tél.: 514 939-7000 externe)

Émile Béchard. General view of the Tombs of the Caliphs, Cairo, plate 14 from the portfolio L’Égypte et la Nubie : Grand Album Monumental, Historique, Architectural, 1887.
CCA Collection.

Alexander Cavilla. Street in the old medina of Tangiers (1880). CCA Collection.