Master piece of the Day: A boy at the Hair dresser

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By [Ari Rosner]


Tunisia through the eyes of Ernest Gustave Gobert

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It is November 29, 1879 at Charly-sur-Marne (Aisne), was born Ernest Gustave Gobert.
In 1906, he obtained a PhD in Medicine and off for Tunisia. He exercises first in the south of Tunisia before being appointed in 1920, the director of hygiene and public health in Tunisia. Meanwhile, he developed a passion for prehistory and ethnography that give rise to many publications, books and scientific articles and literary works.

Back in France in 1958, he moved to Aix-en-Provence and bequeaths to the Natural History Museum of Aix-en-Provence a collection of artifacts from prehistoric times and a large collection of photography.

In the last two centuries, Tunisian visual archives were done by french and some Germans, at that time when Tunisia was under the French occupation, photography was about showing how France was doing good in a disordered country.

All the photos in [Photos-tunisie-gobert]


Master piece of the Day: Man riding donkey

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By [Declan McCullagh]


featured photographer: Karim Ben Khelifa

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Karim Ben Khelifa, born in 1972, is a self-taught photojournalist with dual Belgian/Tunisian nationality, based inbetween Paris and Sanaa in Yemen.
His work has been widely published in newspapers and magazines like Newsweek, Time Magazine, Stern, Le Monde 2, The New York Times Magazine and various Geo editions.
His photographs has been exhibited in solo shown in various countries, including photojournalism's major annual showcase, Visa pour l'Image in Perpignan, France in 2004.
He was among the photographers selected for the World Press Foundation Masterclass in 2000.
Twice nominated for the War Correspondent award in Bayeux, he has traveled in more than 80 countries and has covered armed conflicts in Afghanistan, Iraq, Ex-Yugoslavia and Palestine.
His body of work focuses extensively on the Arab World and Islam.

He's probably the most known and the most adventurous Tunisian photographer I know, his portfolio is a hard collection of misery all over Iraq (All along the conflicts since 1990), Somalia and Afghanistan, and even if he insists in the fact that he is not a war photographer, his fate is within the biggest conflicts of the time allowing him a handful of international prizes:

1999 - Nominated for Le prix Bayueyx for war correspondents - France.
2000 - Nikon prize in the international Photography contest - Belgium.
2000 - World press foundation masterclass - Netherlands.
2004 - Fuji film Young reporter award - France.
2004 - Nominated for Le prix Bayueyx for war correspondents - France.

His main formula is mysterious combination of more than 15 authentic reportages as:
- The two war on Iraq.
- USA after the 9/11.
- The war on Afghanistan.
- The conflicts in Somalia.
- Guantanamo detention camp.

A rising star that was qualified by:
Simon Barnett, Newsweek's director of photography, applauds Khelifa for his ability to make great compositions from seemingly chaotic scenes. "He operates effortlessly in some very tough working conditions over there," Barnett says, "yet, even in the face of danger, he is able to make consistently provocative and interesting pictures."

[Karim Ben Khelifa Website]


Master piece of the Day: A school boy pissing

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By [Hamideddine Bouali, 1992]


Tunisian Safari: The land of the Photography

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The first time I visited Tunisia was in the 1960s not long after the country had gained its independence from France and President Bourguiba was in power. The country was just beginning to dip its toe into the rapidly expanding river of tourism.

...Close by is the real Tunisia, the medina at Sousse, the troglodyte dwellings at Matmata, the desert market at Douz, the Chott and the mountain oases. The photography is exciting and challenging and for a Muslim country--the least restricted that I have experienced.

Sousse, Tunisia's third largest city, is an unusual combination of beach resort, industrial port and Islamic city. Each part of the city is separate, so you pass from one world to another quickly and totally. The old medina is a maze of winding streets and endless photographic opportunities--the ideal place to start your journey and become acclimated to the country.

This was a fascinating journey with plenty of photographic opportunities, so I was very happy to retrace my steps in February 2003 leading a group of 15 photographers from the Northern Region of the Royal Photographic Society.

This is an other testimonial how pretty the photography is in Tunisia through decades, people like Jane H. Black were coming and going enjoying every little stuff around, Tunisia is the land of the picturesque a motion worth take shots and getting back happy with a little smell of history in a photo.

Read the Full article by [Jane H. Black]


Master piece of the Day: Tunisian Potter, Djerba island, c.1900

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By an unknown French Photographer .


GoGozo adventure photo tours

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GoGozo and its trip leaders put a distinct emphasis on fun, adventure and awareness building. With such exciting activities as riding camels in Tunisia, visiting the Star Wars filming site, or the nightly Balzan street festivals, there is much to experience.

Photographic instruction, including darkroom developing and computer manipulation, is an ongoing backdrop to our adventures. Students are encouraged to carry their cameras at all times and to experiment with new cameras including rudimentary pinholes, and single-use cameras.

Although Tunisians are claimed to be the experts of the Tourism business baking up their strategy through the sunny beaches, the sandy Sahara and a lot of fun, nobody made a statement how funny should be the education thus thus company offers a excellent trip all over Sicily, Malta and Tunisia and do you know why? because this line of marvelous country hold the best and essentials of the Mediterranean beauty, all you can is to take your camera off your bag and start to shoot.

Unfortunately this service seems to be open to European rather than locals, and the point is why we don't invest a little in such great new business idea, in one part you can get everybody practice photography in the right ways, and in an other hand you can go anywhere including the less concerned area such as mountainous or less know or less visited historic monuments as photography can be operated any where there is a piece of beauty.

IMHO such places as Zaghouan would benefit from such business, the government have tried several years to pump the Tourism somehow there in vain, too far from the beaches and the hotels with couple of major historic monuments, but they never thought about innovation, many tourist nowadays practice photography not just to stamp their last summer travel as much as photography itself.

[Gogozo Website]


Masterpiece of the Day: Kairouan's old bicyle rider

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By [David Duchemin]


The early days of Photography Copyright

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Copyright created and registered in England, is secured ipso facto in the other countries subscribing to Berne convention of International Copyright. These countries are as follow: Algiers, Belgium, Denmark and the Faeroe Islands, France and its colonies, Hayti,Italy,Japan,Liberia, Luxembourg, Monaco, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Tunis, under this convention the photographer must comply with the formalities of his country (The country of origin), and he obtains in the other countries the degree protection of production which granted to natives in these countries. The degree of protection varies ...

From [Cassell's Cyclopedia of Photography By Bernard Edward Jones]

Thus as you can see the first threads about Photography copyright came from UK and so did the other Europe country, while in Tunisia, we would certainly do the same as France under the protectorate system. I'm sure that at the time the stock photos was a prominent business all over Europe(Perhaps not yet in USA)they did always tried to protect it from copy and theft as ma matter of assets more than a matter of art.

Till those days, the Tunisian legislation classifies Photography with other copyrighted paper stuff as books, there is no straight law showing the specific nature of the photo itself. I don't know even if we are still in the Bern convention, hope so.


Featured Photograher : Slim El gombri

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Who is Slim Gomri?

...Born August 7, 1969, in Tunis, Gomri obtained a diploma in life and earth sciences and worked as a high school teacher in Tunis.

Involved in various projects from the beginning of his JCI career, Gomri became JCI Rades President in 1996...

Why is Gomri Involved in photography?

“My father was an amateur photographer,” says the past JCI Vice President. “As a child, I used to ‘play’ with his black and white pictures. Since then, I loved this ‘magical machine’ and started using it later. I also welcomed and adapted to the arrival of digital photography.”

Gomri considers photography a passion. “It’s a way to express thoughts, ideas, and opinions,” he says. “It’s a wonderful tool that lets you share unique and unforgettable moments, places and situations with others.”

He also considers photography a means to promote social progress. “Photography is a very powerful tool,” says Gomri. “As an intern in a Non Governmental Organization (NGO) in Washington, D.C., I was amazed to see projects involving youth and photography to deal with issues like corruption and conflict resolution.”

When asked for advice on how to succeed in photography, Gomri said, “There is no mystery with photography. Just like anything in life, to succeed you have to love what you’re doing and be yourself.”

Why the Exhibit in Washington, D.C.?

Gomri loves Tunisia. “I live in a nice country, small but diverse and full of colors and light,” he says. “I wanted to share this diversity with Americans, interest them in my country, and make them curious and willing to discover Tunisia. I will also try to deliver my view of my country to the visitors of the exhibition.”

“My humble goal is to contribute, through photography, to building cultural bridges and enhancing understanding and dialogue between citizens of the United States and Tunisia,” explains Gomri. “More dialogue and more exchanges remove fear, misunderstanding and seeds of conflicts, and contribute to a better world. I also hope to break many stereotypes on both sides and contribute to dialogue through photography.”

Via [JCI news]

[Slim Flickr Galleries]
[Slim Official site]


Chazal and the Royal photography in Tunis

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The recent war between France and Tunis which upset government of the latter and made the Tunisian a sort of department of France has not benefited M. Chazal for he was an intimate acquaintance of the Bey fifteen months indeed M. Chazal was an inmate of the at Tunis for the Bey's brother is an accomplished thanks to our host tuition Very soon the came to appreciate the value of photography and like wise man he cast about for a thorough master who could the art root and branch His brother however the more apt pupil although the Bey himself was imbued with the importance of photography that he upon establishing a private studio for himself C. Chazal was sent for and given carte blanche both in respect construction and expenditure and the consequence was in a few months the Bey's palace at Tunis boasted one the most complete photographic establishments The of glorious old Carthage or rather what is left of are very close to Tunis as every student of the knows full well and this spot afforded plenty of scope to the Royal photographs.

From The Photographic News edited by Sir William Crookes, G Wharton Simpson

It's a very strange text of memory, M. Chazal (Who seems to be British) seems to be a pioneer photographer in North Africa, as he have been in Algeria, the contact with the royal family have established deep photography tradition inside the palace of the Bey thus making the epidemic of the photo such a Royal affair.

I don't remember seeing any photos labeled by the name of a Bey, I wonder where did the works of his majesty gone, such photography should be one of the first art works ever in Tunisia, we know few things about the monarchy and we know fewer things about the Photos at that times.


Photography and sensitive sites in Tunisia

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Do not photograph such things as foreign embassies, government offices, military installations, army manoeuvres, troop movements, etc however good a picture they may make. The police have instructions to question photographers who seem interested in "sensitive" sites. You risk being detained temporarily and you will probably lose your photographs.

This information is part of the Tunisia British council recommendations and it's not almost true that the camera is making the forces nervous always nervous but it happens that they also got others instructions to leave the tourists roam free, and by the way those instructions are universal try step ahead and takes a picture of the Scotland Yard, in very little country sensitive sites are the same more or less tolerated.

There is one thing that I can ensure you that nobody got arrested in Tunisia -especially foreigners- because he was taking photos, remember that the Ministry of the interior is in the middle of Avenue Habib Bourguiba and that Tourists like to shot the whole street. Tunisia is a very safe country guarded by educated police forces, there's nothing to worry about, if you have been mistaken you would asked kindly even to stop taking photos or just to erase them, no camera confiscated or any trouble at all.


Featured Photograher : Adel Bouallagui

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Adel Bouallagui was born and raised in Tunisia, he started his career as a journalist reporter for local and foreign newspapers then he joined the Tunisian TV where he participated in the production of three-hour talk show. He earned a master's degree in Media & Arts specializing in Digital Photography and Video Production.

His interest in digital photography was fostered by his digital photography workshops in Long Island University in Brooklyn, New York. from this point on, Adel has taken photographs all over the state of New York. Adel 's strong media and mass communications theories understanding and capabilities have allowed him to get into the middle of the crowd and capture various photographs in different themes. Adel has a tendency towards working on themed photographs over the past two years Adel has been working on photographs concerning Multiculturalism, Globalization, global communications, and Body language.

Adel has a tendency towards using digital imaging to capture and doccument various Folkloric & Cultural Heritage, he also likes working on themed photographs.
Over the past Adel has been working on topics such as: Multiculturalism, Globalization, Global communications, and Body language.

Unfortunately, he doesn't have a dedicated site and his works are thrown all over the Internet.

[Adel Bouallagui Gallery]


Maison africaine de Photographie

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"Maison africaine du photographie" aka MAP(African house of Photography) is a public institution with scientific, technological and artistic profile, having its own management system granted by the Malian government. Based on Mali with African goals, it's taking care of the Bamako photography festival.

The main mission of the MAP is a collection task, saving et promoting et spreading the African photography. It has been giving support to the association and professional photographers making exchange in Africa and the worldwide.

The MAP was made up since 2004 to solve the many issues managing the Bamako Photography festival(Rencontres de la Photographie Africaine de Bamako- since 1994) by the Malian ministry of culture through the gathering of many African photography experts.

[MAP homepage]


Masterpiece of the Day: Wild Poppy Field, Kairouan, Tunisia, 1979

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"A farm boy in no particular hurry allows his donkey to browse on wild poppies as they shamble along toward field work near Kairouan, a city holy to Muslims."

By [Alan Harvey] from [The national geographic archives]


Masterpiece of the Day: Tunis Foutain

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Featured Photographer : Bechir Mannour

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Bechi Manoubi was born in November 24,1930 in Tunis he started his career as boxer -He was even Tunisian Boxing champion in 1958- before becoming a sport photographer by 1960, he has been in the major world events as 10 world cups and 12 summer Olympic games and three Mohamed Ali boxing matches, he is believed to the be the most known photographer of Africa.

He used to wear a special clothing making him easily remarkable everywhere he went: the Mexican hat with a several Tunisian flogs and tens of cards covering both his jacket and hat he have been collecting. The whole thing wights 50 Kg that he owe him to get mentioned in the Guinness book. Unfortunately although his great works all along the 60 years of sport photojournalism, he was never rewarded nor locally nor outside the country.

In his testament, Bechir Manoubi asked that:
- Save his archives.
- His costume to be used.
- Keep on his mission thus Hosni ,his son, has taken the flame.

[Bechi Manoubi Official Webiste]
[Bechi Manoubi Official Galleries]


ATB challenge

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In Tunis, there few events involving photography beside a couple of small festivals, ATB challenge is one of the major and most buzzed events ever without being that great thing about arts, the challenge is about three disciplines: Art (Photography, Cinema, painting), Technology and Business. The photography is the major part of the whole competition involving less than one hundred amateur willing to get one the prizes: 1st prize 7000 TND (About 5000USD), 1000 TND for the second one and finally 500 TND for the last challenger.

This the jury is always a gathering of business man ans celebrities unable to differ photography from art, I have been in the first edition which spots "The national treasures" my main work was a set of photos of Sidi Ali Azzouz(Zaghouan) a splendid and Arabic post-Andalusian style and I was beaten by a guy shooting his hand as "The hand that build Tunisia" and a girl taking El Jem coliseum arches with her mobile phone as a matter of fun.

The event is -unfortunately- not promoting fun as a propaganda like what the bank is smart and it supports arts and young people. Anyway, I keep the faith and stand to see what's going to be about this edition titled: Mediterranean sea : unionism and diversity.


Masterpiece of the Day: Avenue Habib Bourguiba 1885

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Avenue de la Marine, future avenue Jules Ferry then avenue Habib Bourguiba and now Avenue 7 Nocembre, shot in 1885 by the French Bertrand Bouret.


Featured Photograher : Jellel Gastli

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Neil, Semia, Imane, Sami and Inji A., by Tunisian photographer Jellel Gastelli,
who divides his life between France and Tunisia.

Born in 1958 in Tunisia, Jellel Gastelli graduated in 1985 from the Ecole Nationale de la Photographie in Paris, where he currently resides with his family. In 1984 he travelled back to Tunisia and began his White Series (Série Blanche) . In 1990 he travelled to Alexandria, Egypt as French Cultural Centre artist -in-residence. That same year Gastelli received grants from the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs and from Kodak-Pathé, which allowed him to produce a photographic series on the city of Tangiers, Morocco and he published a book on this work in 1991.

Jellel describes his work as follows:

From time to time, ever since 1984, I have photographed the medium of Hammamet and the architecture of Djerba Islands mosques. I seek to capture the purity of the walls, covered with several coats of white-wash and to reduce buildings to their underlying cubic shapes. I inscribe in these images the sensations provoked by the tension between lines and surfaces saturated with light. Their multiple geometric combinations imperceptibly make their way toward abstraction. I play at replacing static prespective with dynamic flat surfaces. Although I was not aware of it when I began them, I realise now that in these very large prints, making up what I call the White Series (Série Blanche) I endeavoured to capture the intense pure spirit of place that I associate with my Tunisian childhood.

Jellel Gastelli’s Séries Blache has been exhibited at the Guggenheim as well as being part of their permanent collection in New York.

Unfortunately there was few about Jellel Gastli, and he doesn't have a dedicated portfolio or website.

Via [Micheal Open Gallery]


Featured Photograher : KAMEL AGREBI

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Kamel Agrebi is a Tunisian photographer,working in advertising since 1986 I'm living Tunis, he was graduated from political science college in Grenoble(France). he got several exhibitions all around Tunisia and an amazing online portfolio.

I spend a while getting chunks of informations in many galleries and portfolios sites to get more him, I even tried to contact, but he was not listed in the yellow pages.

His works goes from the studio photography(His main style) to the portrait and open places shots showing a set of what he was concerned about, the photos even dedicated for a business purposes shows a revelation art touch, I did really like the portrait he was making and the smiling faces. I bet that you have encountered somewhere in the way back home or reading a newspaper or a magazine without identifying the artist behind the camera thus take a look at his portfolio to get really amazed.

[Kamel Agrebi Website]
[Kamel Agrebi portfolio at]


The Arab Images Foundation

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The Arab Images Foundation® is a not for profit organization dedicated to the safeguarding of modern and contemporary visual arts in the Arab world, and has done important work in the field of civil society development by highlighting the daily life of local populations in the Middle East and North Africa. Using photography, it aims to show what usually stays out of the mainstream media's focus.

This is one of the few places where you can count Arabic made by Arab(almost) photography, because in the Arab world, photography is that about stock, it's still a hobby leading to mockery. I didn't find any Tunisian photographer nor any Tunisian photos down and thus I'm going to populate the site with my modest works and hoping you would follow too.

The site is almost about photography stock featuring half Arabs half western(French) photographers which is the right dose to get insider and outsider angle of view and the only present purpose now is watching non downloadable low resolution photos.

[Arab Images Foundation]


The national movement illustrated

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Since the end of the 19th century, Tunisia was drawn under the French protectorate a masked occupation that led the country under the foreign dictatorship, the resistance of the tribes and local population haven't stopped since especially in the country side never less in the cities, the national movement have been the guiding to the independence (1965) thanks to decades of struggle with the the French authorities for decades.

The armed resistance was rarely taken in pictures, few portraits of jailed or wanted rebels were kept in the archives, people hiding in top of the mountains and in the bushes keeping eyes open even in sleep were less concerned about archiving their activity through writings or photos than having munitions, food and some intelligence to avoid or attack the enemy platoons nor did the media (a couple of national newspapers) who were over controlled by the French local government, and the French press was spreading other propaganda.

The national movement led by Farhat Hachad, Abdel Azia thaalbi, taher ben Youssef and Bourguiba was a gathering of smart thinkers who thought differently from the rebels, they chosen to peacefully to negotiate with the French occupier small peaces of freedom than the complete independence, the National party have used the most sophisticated tools in time to show their attention: meeting, strikes, newspapers, ... without ignoring to take all that in shots thus their actions were shoes around in the local media and the Arab national press.

Bourguiba was on the heart of all that fighting for the independence: local meeting in the party and many visits to Egypt and USA or even as detainee in Isle of Groix was all graved into memorable and precious photos.

Bourguiba knew always how to interact with the camera as his only way of visible communication for the farther people at the time, the national TV started in 1966, the newspapers and the radio were the major mass media. The photos -even in the most worst times- showed a wise smiling leader with enlighten mind and a brighter future.

As part of his show, he was an element man but he also showed him self wearing labor clothes, working as a farmer and taking pictures with political mates and ordinary people, in one word he knew the real value of photography as much as a political speech as a matter for leadership.

Photography has been a main too on the most big struggles for freedom all over the world as much for Tunisia as for Algeria or India, it didn't just store all those events into memory, it did change history, believes and led whole countries to change.

You can find a valuable collection of Bouguiba's photo in a dedicated site, and other photos of the national party under the French protector in the independence site establish in the 50th independence celebration.


Prisoner-of-war compound in Tunisia

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Prisoner-of-war compound in Tunisia where more than a quarter million German and Italian soldiers were held following the Allied victory in North Africa. Many of these prisoners were sent to the United States. (Courtesy U.S. Army Military History Institute, Carlisle Barracks, Pa.)


Hello World

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Local photography in Tunisia is perhaps mis known, few people knows about photographers, places and facilities in the country thus I'm going to try to get all this clear: photographers biographies, interviews, events and photos/portfolios reviews are my most humble project.