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National images
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Chapter 3 considers how the use of photography was popularized through the illustrated magazine industry to shape collective belonging and influence the cultural imagination of an emergent nation-state. Various types of visual magazines flourished in the early twentieth century and these collections recorded and shaped the transformation of everyday life under modernity. Illustrated magazines, like al-Musawwar (The Photographer’s Studio), used photographs in new graphic ways to report on news, culture and celebrities in order to reflect the interests of its middle-class readership. Hence, the photograph in print takes on a persuasive role in mediating new social values and the nationalist politics of a country moving from colonial to decolonial self-rule. Later, the Nasserist Arab Republic nationalized the media and the state inherited various photographic archives while struggling to set up institutions that could safeguard the medium. These surviving magazine archives help position the role of the photograph in the popular press as they are often archived in government-run institutions or by independent organizations. The preservation of image materials has become contentious as the housing in archives brings into question the curation of cultural memory, autonomy of knowledge and the unlearning of colonial legacies.

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Decolonizing images

A new history of photographic cultures in Egypt

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