Algerian ID Photos
Other orientalist photographs stand in great contrast to those presented by Malek Alloula. Rather than paid prostitutes who posed in front of the camera to allegedly represent authentic Algerian women, Marc Garanger’s photographs portray real Algerian women who were forced to unveil in front of the camera by colonial European authorities.
Marc Garanger’s photographs of Algerian women are among the most stark and symbolic images of North African women to emerge from the colonial period. Stationed in North Africa against his will, Garanger became an army photographer so as to avoid direct combat with the Algerian resistance forces but in so doing, came into direct combat with the hundreds of Algerian women he was forced to photograph for identification purposes. Reflecting on this assignment, Garanger has recalled that the women, glaring at him as they were forced to remove their veils for his camera, were “firing at him with their eyes” as they suffered the indignity of being photographed against their will. Although Garanger sought to redeem the women by photographing the identification images in a portrait style, the fear and anger in the women’s eyes communicates their frustration and humiliation of having been deprived of their veils and dignity.
Femmes Algériennes 1960
Marc Garanger (French, 1935- ).
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