Arab Image Foundation

The Arab Image Foundation (AIF) is a non-profit organization dedicated to the collection, preservation, and study of photography and other related visual material from the Middle East, North Africa, and the Arab Diaspora. Established in Beirut in 1997, it holds over 600,000 photographs from the mid-19th century to the present day. The collection includes various photographic mediums such as film-based negatives, glass-plates, and prints. It reflects both the general preservation mission of the foundation and the specific interests of its members, who have initiated research projects in Lebanon, Syria, Palestine, Jordan, Egypt, Morocco, Iraq, Iran, Mexico, Argentina and Senegal. Authored by professionals, amateurs and anonymous photographers, the images encompass a range of genres and styles – including studio portraiture, family albums, documentary, reportage, industrial photography, fashion photography, architecture, advertising, fine art, landscape and still life. The collection includes extensive collections entrusted by photographers such as Hashem el Madani (Lebanon), Van Leo (Egypt), Antranig Bakerdjian (Palestine), and Kamil and Rifaat Chadirji (Iraq) among others. Images from the collection can be viewed online through the AIF website and through the in-house online image database. The AIF’s research facilities include over 1,300 books, monographs, catalogues, journals, theses and DVDs dedicated to the study of photography, preservation, art, theory, and regional history. The AIF has produced fifteen exhibitions and eight publications in partnership with international museums, galleries and cultural institutions, and the collection has been used for artists’ projects, curatorial initiatives and academic research.

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