Studio Cairo

Installation 150*142cm, 2002

Since 1957, the photographer Mohammed Abu Hasirah  (Abu Jamil) produced hundreds of portraits for the studio’s visitors. He used interior decoration arrangements and landscape backdrops of exotic beaches far away from Nablus as well as a selection of various costumes while giving strict guidance to the proper positioning of the body and the direction of the gaze.

Until the seventies of last century, going to the studio was a common social habit in the city. This was accompanied with a certain excitement at having a personal portrait taken, to which the photographer would do some cosmetic alterations in order to make the photograph more beautiful than reality, something the artist photographer enjoyed doing while practicing his unique art. The images were hand-crafted in the way the photo was shot, processed, treated, colored and modified. Until the seventies, all images were manually produced with techniques that photography studios no longer use. Also all the social habits associated with earlier photography have disappeared in line with the social and cultural transformations in the city. Testing the transitions of social habits and the change in the photography industry, the artist invited exhibition visitors to have their photographs taken by Abu Jamil, simulating experiences of studio photography similar to those experienced in the seventies. To get their ‘prized’ digital photographs, the guests dressed up and positioned themselves to the instructions of Abu Jamil in front of the beach scene backdrop.