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Friday, April 27, 2007

Lazhar Mansouri: Portraits of a Village

Lazhar Mansouri: Portraits of a Village at Westwood Gallery in New York, NY. "...a premiere U.S. exhibition of photographs by Lazhar Mansouri (1932-1985). Fifty five silver gelatin photographs represent a portion of over 100,000 portraits captured by this dedicated Algerian photographer. From 1950 through 1980, Mansouri photographed the inhabitants of Kabylie and Aïn Beïda, his home town in Northern Algeria.
When Mansouri was a child, he accompanied his grandmother to the local street market, a community meeting place and bazaar, where he met a photographer who had a studio in back of a grocery store. The photographer hired him and through an apprenticeship, Mansouri learned the craft of photography. Eventually, he left to open his own studio in the back of a barber shop, dedicated to portraiture. After years of documenting everyday people in the region, Mansouri inadvertently created a photographic archive, a legacy of images representing people and tribes rarely photographed. During this period, Algeria went through war and political turmoil as the country fought for independence from France; however the stability of Mansouri’s studio was evident in the thousands of people he captured."