لمحة - الحلقة الثالثة عشر: مجموعتا ألفريدو يازبك وأرمان
لمحة هي بودكاست من إعداد المؤ سسة العربية للصورة بهدف تقديم المجموعات الموجودة
arabimagefoundation.org في عهدتها عبر سلسلة من المقتطفات القصيرة. للمزيد، زوروا
.تم الإنتاج بالتعاون مع تيونفورك ستوديوز في بيروت
"Lamha" is a podcast put together by the Arab Image Foundation with the aim of presenting the collections in its custody through a series of short snippets. For more, visit arabimagefoundation.org.
0043ar00043, 0043ar – Armand collection, courtesy of the Arab Image Foundation, Beirut.
Produced in collaboration with Tunefork Studios, Beirut.
This podcast was first featured in Issue 2022.03 of AIF's monthly stories:
The 13th episode of Lamha presents the Alfredo Yazbek collection from the Lebanese diaspora in Mexico; and the Armand collection from Egypt.
The Alfredo Yazbek collection comprises 266 paper prints and 278 film negatives dating back to the 1940s and 1950s. Most of these images are studio portraits taken by Alfredo Yazbek himself in his studio in Mexico City, and captured against staged backdrops and dramatic lighting, as though the photographs’ subjects were celebrities. This makeshift stardom is also manifested in the theatrical manner in which people pose in front of the camera, which sets these studio portraits apart from more traditional ones. This collection gives insight to the inner workings of photographic studios, with drafts of prints being stamped with phrases like “la major” and “buena” (“the best” and “good”), which are indicative of the quality of the prints. Some negatives also bear markings, designating which parts of the image require retouching. Several negatives, for instance, are marked at the level of the neck, under the eyes, around the mouth, and on the cheeks and forehead, suggesting that these are the parts from which wrinkles should be removed. The backs of these draft prints include detailed information on the subjects’ skin tone, as well as the color of their eyes, hair, and clothes. These images having been developed in black and white, knowledge of these hues and colors was essential to achieve optimal results.
The Armand collection brings together 57 paper prints, 70 glass plates, and 1,018 film negatives, most of which were taken by Armenak Arzrouni, better known as Armand, which is also the name of his photo studio in Cairo. Armand took myriads of portraits of royalty, politicians, and celebrities, including Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, Queen Narimane Sadek, Mohammed Abdel Wahab, Leila Mourad, Muhammad Idris bin Muhammad al-Mahdi as-Senussi, and Lola Sidky, whose portrait graces the AIF office in Beirut. Featured in the Armand collection are also images of ornate home interiors. One such image that stands out is a picture of a kitchen with a man sitting behind a cabinet in the far right corner. Though his features aren’t clear, it appears from his attire that he may be one of the people who work in the house. This image may seem perfectly ordinary to some, but it sheds light on the following: all the personalities photographed by Armand are pictured in their best possible way, even if they are frowned upon by the majority of the population, or even by history itself.
The Alfredo Yazbek and Armand collections depict a so-called golden age, but a closer examination of these images reveals a reality that cannot be further from this ideological (and falsely idyllic) view of this period in time.
You can explore these two collections on our digital platform through the links below.
Alfredo Yazbek collection: