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Dust: Egypt's Forgotten Architecture Hardcover – 31 May 2012

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Dewi Lewis Publishing (31 May 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1907893199
  • ISBN-13: 978-1907893193
  • Product Dimensions: 25.1 x 2 x 30.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,198,842 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Born in Russia (St.-Petersburg), lives between St.-Petersburg, Stockholm and Cairo. She studied at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts in Copenhagen and graduated from Russian Academy of Fine Arts in St-Petersburg (MA in History of Art). Xenia Nikolskaya taught photography at Russian Academy of Fine Arts and St.-Petersburg State University. In 2009 she was a visiting teacher at Rutgers University, New Jersey. She worked as a curator for The State Russian Centre of Photography. Currently she teaches photography at American University in Cairo, works as a curator/project leader for Swedish Institute and Fargfabriken (Centre for Contemporary Art and Architecture, Stockholm). Fulbright fellow, been working as a professional photographer since 1995, and has done 15 solo shows, her photos presented in several collections like: Sveriges Allmanna Konstforening, UBS bank, Bibliotheca Alexandria Arts Centre and many private institutions. Among her commissions are: Newsweek, Conde Nast Traveler, GEO, Cosmopolitan, ELLE, Center for Egyptological Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Hermitage State Museum.

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To the average visitor, Egypt is all about pyramids, temples and tombs. However, for anyone who has wandered the streets of downtown Cairo and looked beyond the busy traffic, chaos and dust, and wondered what was beyond the sometimes intricately decorated façades of late 19th and early 20th century buildings, this book with its stunning and perfect photographs is a must-see.
Each photograph is a piece of art, creating its own atmosphere and telling many stories. As there is hardly any background information it leaves one's imagination to roam freely in a strange, secret perishing world of decay and apparent loneliness: Miss Nikolskaya has deliberately left out the presence of any people, which adds to the eerie atmosphere.
I found the total lack of outdoor shots of the particular buildings a little disappointing. (For a completer image I could recommend Paris along the Nile by Cyntia Myntti.). Also the photos in Nikolskaya's book are merely an anthology and far from complete as there are many other places - what about Helouan (Helwan), the once-famous watering place.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars 2 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding a tragic beauty in neglected interiors. 24 Mar. 2013
By Samia Serageldin - Published on Amazon.com
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It is surprising in itself that it should be a Russian photo-journalist who should be so intrigued by Egypt's neglected past as to produce this stunning series of photographs of Egyptian interiors, from the faded glamour of private palaces to abandoned cinemas and department stores. The mood is the same in all the photographs: sad, contemplative, drawing the eye to see beyond the devastation and the dust to the faded beauty of Belle Epoque staircases, domes, fireplaces....All the pictures are of interiors, not exteriors, and there are no human figures in the shot, lending a welcome uniformity to the images. The essay by On Barak sheds an indispensable light on the purpose of the collection.
I admit that I was drawn to the book immediately by the cover photo of a fireplace in my family house in Garden City, which I called 'The Cairo House' in the eponymous novel. There are several other photos taken in the house, but many more of very varied spaces.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful book about Egypt's decline through images of lost grandeur 16 Feb. 2013
By Ahmed Al-Okelly - Published on Amazon.com
This is a one of a kind book. It comes at a very relevant time as Egyptians revisit their lost glory in post revolution Egypt. This book shows what Egypt was and what it has become after a 50 year period of military rule stagnation and decline. The glory of Egypt as a growing and beautiful city in the 1900s comes to life in this book through the images of the country's homes and architecture of the time. The pictures shot of grand homes: deserted, lonely and in decline are powerful and provide a rare glimpse of never seen before interiors and architecture. Underneath it all is the sadness of what has become of these homes which today are left to decay but not too long ago hosted the Middle East's elite. The saloons and care taken in designing these homes. Xenia has done a wonderful job, making the pictures real, and walking a thin line between realism and artistic interpretation. I like that she did not take too much artistic liberty with the images and hence kept them as factual as a photographer can with a subject matter. The emotions that these pictures instill are very much a result of the realism that their images portray, and thanks to Xenia are balanced, sincere and not hampered down by a photographer's attempt to add drama through technique. I respect that. Prior to getting this book, I recommend that you read about Egypt and particularly Cairo's 19th century architecture, even just online, it will give a wonderful context to what these images mean, in both city, human and living terms. The book size wise is not big; not one of those large coffee table books that take up half of the counter, yet it is at heart a coffee table book, with little text. It does not at all take away from its attractiveness, at least for me, I actually liked that, as it gives the book a mysterious feel. I find something unique and appropriate in going with images rather than text given the subject matter. It is a book that you put on your coffee table not for decor but to have unique and exciting conversation.
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