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Exhibits at MEP: 1st Biennial of Contemporary Arab World Photographers

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La Maison Européenne de la Photographie in Paris has prepared some great photographic surprises for its visitors at the end of year 2015. Six exhibitions dedicated to travel photography are presented on four floors of the Hôtel Hénault de Cantobre, a classic example of 18th century Parisian architecture. From a retrospective of Magnum's Bruno Barbey to the portraits of Moroccans to young photographers exploring the world, this time it's a real feast for a travel photographer's eye!

by Bruno Barbey
© Bruno Barbey

All six exhibits are part of the 1st Biennial of Contemporary Arab World Photographers in collaboration with The Arab World Institute in Paris, making this show ever more pertinent in the context of current events in the world. Fifty-five years of photography by Moroccan-born French photographer Bruno Barbey, urban archeology by Stéphane Couturier, a touching photo testimonial about life in Gaza by Massimo Berruti, an unseen perspective of touristic development in Egypt by a French-Italian couple of photographers Andrea and Magda, stunning life-size portraits of Moroccans by Leila Alaoui, and finally a black-and-white mixture of fiction and reality of Moroccan society by filmmaker and photographer Daoud Aoulad-Syad - these are the exhibits that will open visitors' eyes to a modern Arab world as seen by talented photographers from a variety of perspectives.

The work of Magnum Agency photojournalist Bruno Barbey, covering over half a century of roaming around the world, is the definite highlight of the show. From Turkey to Italy, from Gabon to Iran, from Nigeria to Kuwait, Barbey is witnessing History of the world through his camera lens in his own poetic way. Known for a particularly harmonious use of colour, he never ceases to surprise the viewer by telling a visual story through yet another striking combination of colours, shapes, and patterns. Besides 150 large prints, the exhibit also features seven films, directed by Caroline Thiénot-Barbey, while a number of Barbey's photo books are available for further exploration.

by Bruno Barbey
© Bruno Barbey

Portraits of French and Moroccan artist Leila Alaoui attracted my attention for their purity, aesthetics and complexity at the same time. For her series Les Marocains, the photographer traveled all over Morocco photographing men and women of different ethnicities in their traditional clothing. Setting up a mobile studio in public places allowed Leila Alaoui to use classic black background and professional lighting in the most remote areas. As a result, she produced a series of captivating painting-like portraits reflecting ancient traditions of this land rapidly disappearing with the advance of globalisation.

by Leila Alaoui
© Leila Alaoui

Don't miss a chance to visit MEP this winter and plunge into the world of outstanding travel photography!

  • Until:

    Saturday, 16 January 2016

  • Venue Details:

    La Maison Européenne de la Photographie
    5/7 rue de Fourcy, 75004 Paris

    Metro Saint Paul (line 1) or Pont Marie (line 7)

    Open from Wednesday to Sunday, from 11 am to 8 pm
    Closed on Mondays, Tuesdays and on public holidays

  • Location:

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About the Author

Nadia Gric

Nadia Gric

Nadia is passionate about the visual aspect of life and the personalities she meets along the way. Living in the heart of Paris, Nadia never stops exploring the City of Light through her camera and readily shares her knowledge and love for photography. Learn more...