Jerusalem Quarterly # 50
When Mark Twain visited Palestine, in 1867, he was not really impressed, to put it mildly. At least, that is what he reported in his diary. Did he really think what he wrote, or was he using his humour to play the character of a Western tourist totally unprepared to encounter a distant and different context? Who knows.
Well, regardless of Twain’s bitter remarks, what was Palestine like, those days? As usual, it very much depends on the eyes of the observer. And the eyes of the first European visitors equipped with a photo camera were particularly selective, in their visual investigations of the landscape. This is the topic of my article “A New Art in an Ancient Land: Palestine through the lens of early European photographers”, published in the journal Jerusalem Quarterly, issue 50, August 2012.
Homepage featured image: Bonfils Photography Studio (1880s), Syrian woman with scarf.