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Van Leo
Self Portrait (1945)
Van-Leo Collection, Rare Books and Special Collections Library, The American University in Cairo

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Self Portraits

Artists: Van Leo

Dates: Oct 6th 2006 - Nov 4th 2006

Venue: BPB at University of Brighton Gallery

Van Leo was an Armenian-Egyptian studio photographer, whose portraits of Egyptian cosmopolitan society evoke the glamour and flamboyance of 1950s pre-revolutionary Cairo, during the last years of the British occupation of Egypt. However, Van Leo’s main subject was himself, and over fifty of his extraordinary self-portraits made up this exhibition at University of Brighton Gallery.

Having grown up in the largest movie industry in the Middle East, Van Leo created self-absorbed and narcissistic images that enabled him to play out different film roles, from femme fatale to gangster, from Sam Spade to Zorro. At a time of massive upheaval in the Middle East as a whole, Van Leo's extraordinary self-portraits could be seen as a reflection of the multiple possibilities that faced Egypt at a deeply uncertain moment in its political history.

A University of Brighton Gallery Exhibition in collaboration with Brighton Photo Biennial. Sponsored Spectrum Photographic.

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