New York Times profile offers a peek into world of Arab photography

by Liam McCabe

posted Wednesday, March 19, 2014 at 11:44 AM EDT

Photo: Samer Mohdad, Mes Arabies, Libya, 1994

Here in the West, most of the images we see of the Arab world come from news reports or tourist guides. But as we know, photography is universal. Over at the New York Times’s Lens blog, we get an insider’s view of everyday life in the Middle East.

A post profiles the work of Samer Mohdad, a native of Lebanon who took up photography during his country’s civil war. Rather than covering images of that war—most photographers on assignment were already doing plenty of that—Mohdad instead wanted to capture “the hopes of normal people living in a civil war,” as he told the Times.

After studying photography in Belgium in the late 1980s, he began working for the Paris-based photojournalism agency Vu, and much of his work since then has remained focused on Arab topics. Six books of his work have been published, including “Return to Gaza” and most recently “Beirut Mutations.” He also helped found the Arab Image Foundation, which works to preserve and celebrate the semi-hidden history of photography in the Arab world.

Photo: Samer Mohdad, Mes Arabies, Dubai, 1996

Mohdad’s work is currently on display at the Houston FotoFest as part of a exhibit called “View From Inside: Contemporary Arab Video, Photography, and Mixed-Media Art,” featuring work by artists from 13 different countries. If you aren’t in Texas, check out Mohdad's collections—good ol' film photos—at his website.

Photo: Samer Mohdad, Lebanon, 2004

(via New York Times, Samer Mohdad)