Katharine Cooper’s photographs in the Middle East have been selected for the exhibition ‘Chrétiens d’Orient. Deux mille ans d’histoire’ at the Institut du monde arabe in Paris from 26 September 2017 until 14 January 2018.
These last three years – since 2015 – Cooper made several journeys to Syria and Iraqi Kurdistan where she visited the ruined cities Ma’aloula and Aleppo, and the settlements and refugee camps inhabited by hundreds of thousands of people who have been forced to flee their homes in the wake of terrorism.
Cooper, known for depicting women, men, and children with a great form of respect and sensitivity, saw beyond the disaster. What she discovered in these scorched regions was an overwhelming life-force. In Aleppo for example she found men covered with the dust of reconstruction; women offering her strawberries; green almonds and outrageously-fragrant pink roses that were sold at each street corner. She saw wrecks of lorries hit by shrapnel and condemned to remain immobile in place, transformed into kiosks by merchants who had lost everything in the bombings. Drawn to get close with her subjects, to break down the boundaries between the people and herself, Cooper’s black and white portraits show us the world beyond newspaper photographs.
For more information see the website of the Institut du monde arabe, Paris.