Akram Zaatari, a founder of the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut in 1997, has emerged as one of the most prominent commentators on photography of the Middle East. Overseeing AIF’s mission to preserve and study the photographic culture of the region, Zaatari has, as both an artist and a cultural critic, pushed for more experimental approaches to understanding this collection. Through books, installations, and videos, Zaatari’s visual studies provide new ways of seeing and thinking about images. This work parallels his long-term engagement with “the state of image making in situations of war,” highlighted in his book Earth of Endless Secrets (2009). More recently, Akram Zaatari: The Uneasy Subject (2011) explores the way photography and other imaging practices capture vernacular expressions of masculinity and sexuality. The following interview with anthropologist Mark Westmoreland took place last October via email correspondence.
2013. Vol. 210, 60-65 p.