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Photography is clearly not a mirror of daily life: that images are constructions is especially obvious in19th-century studio portrait photography. This book explores how indigenous Iranian photographers constructed their own realities in contrast to how foreign photographers constructed Iranians' realities. Through an in-depth comparative visual analysis of 19th-century Iranian portrait photography and Persian painting, the author arrives at the insight that aesthetic preferences correlate with socio-cultural habits and practices in writing, reading and looking. Subsequently, she advocates for a place in a global history of photography for those unknown, local photo histories (such as the Iranian one) and for the indigenous photographers who produced them. International Convention of Asia Scholars (ICAS) prize winner 2011