The Photographic Memory of Egypt Program (PME) program’s primary activity is to digitize and document photographic collections of photographers -Egyptian and foreign nationals-as well as important institutional and private collections from the nineteenth and early twentieth-century. These digital collections, gathered from local and international sources, will be made available for researchers, curators, vintage photograph enthusiasts and the general public.
The project focuses on the photographic image for its reference to time, place and subject but also in association to the practice and agency of photography as these factors are what predetermine the construction of the image.
The collection ranges from photojournalism and the archives of key photographers practicing in the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, to Orientalist photographs produced by photographic teams and studios operating in Egypt between 1880 and 1930, to vernacular images produced by local families documenting alternative social histories of Egyptian society from the 1920s to 1960s, to documentary photographs of key events in Egypt’s history as a nation (the exodus of the Nubians and the building of the Aswan High dam in the 1960s, royal visits of the 1910, 1920 and 1930s), and more.
§ Document Egypt’s tangible and intangible cultural heritage through photography
§ Build appreciation for Egypt’s photographic heritage and encourage the recognition of photography as a medium, the photograph as artifact, a historical document and cultural production of an individual
§ Influence a new more responsible approach to understanding photography and photographic archives in Egypt, significantly different from previous assumptions of images that are ready for use, or abuse, and to acknowledge usage rights associated to them
§ locating these collections and then navigating the rights and access to them by establishing clear ownership and copyright agreements. These activities of mapping and negotiating focus on access to photographic collections in order to disseminate them publically, thus contributing to the production of knowledge about subjects concerning Egypt
§ Digitization of photographic collections
§ Engaging in the survey of photographic collections concerning Egypt by locating and documenting these collections, inside Egypt and worldwide, providing examples and information about them
§ Future activities and endeavors such as exhibitions (on-site, multi-venue and on-line), public presentations, documentary films, publications series and educational programs are to be organized. They will hopefully impact the public perception of photography in Egypt, visibly, and encourage the recognition of its practice and historiography
§ Engendering the appreciation for the photograph as an artifact of cultural production as well as an example of material culture
§ A comprehensive timeline for the history of photographic practice in Egypt is being developed
§ A library of documents, books and articles about the various collections and the field in general is being compiled