I just got a copy Olivia Arhtur’s debut publication Jeddah Diary, a chronicle of her travels and relationships with young Saudi women. Olivia, now a Magnum associate, is showing in Fotohof at the moment with her series “The Middle Distance” which was the winning work for the Inge Morath Prize in 2007. Since then, Olivia has continued an interest in the lives of young women in the Arab world and specifically in the grey zone between East and West.
What is immediately special about these new images is how Olivia has managed to not insult the cultural restrictions which prohibit these young women from showing their face, yet keeps them very tangible; the small prints are re-photographed, allowing the flash glare to do the job of the normally brutal black-bar across the eyes. There are also diary style text pieces which anonymously give the girls a voice to their situation, their future and the decisions they are currently facing which will affect the rest of their lives.
If you are in London, be sure to go to the launch which is on Wednesday April 25th at the FISHBAR, a space in London for documentary photography. There are only 1000 copies and I’m sure they will sell out fast. I see that you can pre-order them if you can’t make it to the launch.
Just for the record, I think this will be on many “best of” lists this year. Its already on mine.