Special Exhibits Home   |   Special Exhibit: Cartes-de-Visite from Cairo ca. 1865

Special Exhibit: Cartes-de-Visite of Cairo, Egypt ca. 1865

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Expanding from their earliest use as images of personal remembrance, Carte-de-Visite photographs with their convenient, visiting-card size grew to include images of tourism and other unusual subjects. In this exhibition we show some 34 CDV images of Cairo, Egypt and its inhabitants taken by the photographers Hippolyte Delié and Ermé Désiré during the 1860s.

Subjects of the images include tradesmen, ethnic groups, and noted sites. One CDV depicts the famous Alexandria Obelisk, the so-called "Cleopatra's Needle" which was later gifted to the United States and now stands in Central Park, New York City. Most images of tradesmen and groups show these Egyptians transported with their trade implements to the photographer's studio, but in two very rare images by Désiré the CDVs capture snapshot-like views of tradesmen interacting on the Cairo streets, a genre in which Désiré was a Cairo pioneer.

My thanks to those collectors who allowed their images to be used in this exhibition.

Images and text copyright © 2008-2009 by Christopher Wahren Fine Photographs

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Special Exhibits Home   |   Special Exhibit: Cartes-de-Visite from Cairo ca. 1865