Baghdad Photo Studio

31 January to 27 April 2014 in the Park Hall

Yaseen Al-Obeidy has taken thousands of photographs in the last 45 years. In his photo studios in Basra and Baghdad he has immortalized the people from his neighbourhood: children, men, women, bridal couples and babies. At first in black and white and analogue, later in colour and digital and, moreover, since 2001 intensively photoshopped.

The around 100 photos that the Tropenmuseum will exhibit tell the story of ordinary people in an exceptional country. The unrest, wars and attacks they have suffered are not literally depicted but form the unseen background to the portraits. Never before has an exhibition been dedicated to this type of photography from Iraq: a presentation with ordinary people in the leading role. The background of the exhibition is the Tropenmuseum’s recent purchase of part of Yaseen Al-Obeidy’s (born in Baghdad in 1951) photo archive. The collection covers the last 45 years – from 1968 to 2013 – and gives a unique insight into the recent Iraqi photo-studio culture. The museum discovered the photos through Al-Obeidy’s son Zaid, who stayed in the Netherlands for a short time a few years ago and played the leading role in a theatre performance about his father’s photo studio. This exhibition was partly initiated by the theatre performance Photo Salon Baghdad (2011) by artist Elīna Cērpa.