Josephine Powell 1919-2007: Traveller, Photographer, Collector in the Muslim World

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2009-03-30
  • Publisher: Stylus Pub Llc
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American-born Josephine Powell (1919-2007) lived an unusual life, characterized by her extensive travel as an independent photographer and ethnographic collector. She spent most of her life in the Muslim world, where she studied the material culture of the rural and urban lifestyles she encountered. She stands in a long tradition of Western women travelers who overlooked the boundaries of their own societies to discover new social roles in the East. The last twenty years of her life, Powell spent studying the disappearing ways of life of Anatolian nomads. She lived and worked in Istanbul, where she died in 2007, at the age of 87. Powell's photographic legacy records aspects of societies that today no longer exist. The unique combination of photography and ethnographic collecting gives an exceptionally complete insight on these vanishing cultures. Today her photos and objects are part of the collections of some of the world's most renowned ethnographic museums. In this Bulletin, Judith Vos and Mohamed Saadouni outline the collections Josephine Powell assembled for the Tropenmuseum during the 1960s in Pakistan and Morocco respectively. Deniz Ünsal examines Josephine Powell's most recent activities in the field of preserving Anatolian nomadic weaving traditions. The Bulletin includes a DVD with two ethnographic documentary films made by Josephine Powell in Morocco in the 1960s. Josephine Powell was born in New York, where she studied Arts and Sciences at Cornell University and Social Work at Columbia University. Her architectural photos appeared in well over 150 books and scholarly publications. Collections of her photographs and ethnographic objects are held by the British Museum, Harvard University, the Tropenmuseum (Amsterdam) and the Wereldmuseum (Rotterdam). After her death in 2007, Josephine Powell's entire private collection of Anatolian textiles and ethnographic objects was donated to the Vehbi Koç Foundation in Istanbul.

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