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Guide to the Yasser Alwan Collection


Collection processed by Akkasah: Center for Photography, NYUAD

This finding aid was produced using the Archivists' Toolkit on October 02, 2017

Scope and Contents note

The Yasser Alwan collection includes more than 2000 personal, family and studio photographs and offers a varied and often surprising view of the ethnic, cultural and social diversity that characterized Egyptian society in the first half of the twentieth century.

Photographer Yasser Alwan started visiting various flea markets and book merchants in Cairo in the mid-1990s, purchasing old prints and negatives. Most of these date back to the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s, though there are also a significant number from earlier years. The majority of the photographs were sold individually, but there are also groups of photographs discarded together and a small number of albums.

This fascinating collection of vernacular photography presents a great variety of images depicting daily life in Egypt from the decades before the revolution of 1952, from formal studio portraits to amateur family photos of Egyptians, as well as other Arabs, Turks, Armenians, Greeks, Italians and Western expats who lived in or visited Egypt. There are also photographs of trips abroad taken by Egyptians, as well as a collection of postcards dating from the early 20th century through to the 1960s.

Arrangement note

The collection has been processed as it was received.