Creatives

Egyptology’s Eloquent Eye: Mohammedani Ibrahim

Egyptology’s Eloquent Eye: Mohammedani Ibrahim

As a young man in 1906, Mohammedani Ibrahim joined the work crew of US archeologist George Reisner, who used cameras to record systematically what shovels and picks were unearthing. Ibrahim mastered the technology, and over 30 years he made more than 9,000 exceptionally artful images.
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Mi Leu, Ma Villo, Provençal (My Eyes, My Town, in Provence)

Mi Leu, Ma Villo, Provençal (My Eyes, My Town, in Provence)

One day I encountered a photo of a man looking through a car window as sunlight reflected his view of the nearby cityscape. Soon afterward, I began this portrait series, of which four images are shown here, in my hometown of Vence, near Nice, France.
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Mesopotamia’s Art of the Seal

Mesopotamia’s Art of the Seal

Compact in size yet complex in the scenes they depict, stone cylinders—many no larger than your thumb—were a popular medium for Mesopotamian artisans talented enough to reverse-carve semiprecious stones and produce unique, often mythological tableaux in astonishingly sensitive, naturalistic detail. Their craft gave each seal’s owner a personalized graphic signature for use with the most popular media channel of the third millennium BCE: damp clay. Seal impressions certified ownership, validated origins, attested to debts, secured against theft and more. Many seal cylinders were drilled so they could be strung and carried as amulets and status symbols—uses that may find echoes among today’s compact, personalized communication devices.
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The North African Eye of Yves Saint Laurent

The North African Eye of Yves Saint Laurent

The French fashion designer frequently mentioned Morocco as his muse for colors, collection design and even models from around the world, but Yves Saint Laurent’s eye trained early while growing up on the Mediterranean coast of Algeria.
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FirstLook: The Sari and the Balloon

FirstLook: The Sari and the Balloon

On a winter’s afternoon in 2018 in Bogura, Bangladesh, I went out for a walk with my nephew. While walking, I saw a group of toddlers playing with colorful balloons and across from them boys playing cricket. I was struck to see a bright yellow sari hanging to dry in the sun, which really drew me into to the scene.

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Amir Zaki's Sculpture of Skateparks

Amir Zaki's Sculpture of Skateparks

It takes a landscape photographer’s eye to step down into a cement skatepark and turn the lens not on skaters but on the ramps, waves, valleys, bowls and tunnels that are the terrain of the park itself, and it takes a skater’s experience to do so in a way that captivates both art critics and skateboard stars. California native and photographer Amir Zaki grew up skateboarding on streets in suburban Los Angeles, and recently he began visiting skateparks to produce sweeping, large-format images that offer textured meditations on the beauty of light on curved concrete.

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Preserving Arabia’s Bedouin Poetry

Preserving Arabia’s Bedouin Poetry

Throughout central Saudi Arabia, Bedouin tribal histories and folklore lie largely in oral poetry known as Nabati. In 1989, diplomat and linguist Marcel Kurpershoek set out to meet poets and record their verses. It became a lifetime project that continues to illuminate roots of the Arabic language and Arabian Peninsula cultures.

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FirstLook: The Sphinx Imagined

FirstLook: The Sphinx Imagined

Two summers ago I was browsing several hundred vintage postcards contained in narrow boxes all piled up in a Stillwater, Minnesota, antiques store...I came across several postcards that each featured an imagined sphinx as seen in natural rock formations.
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The Quest for Blue

The Quest for Blue

Rare in nature and difficult to extract from minerals, blue eluded artisans for centuries until Egyptians invented the world’s first synthetic pigment. Formulas for blues from cobalt and indigo followed, and the results have delighted our eyes and evoked the sacred, the royal, the opulent and the mysterious ever since. And the quest is not over.
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