The ongoing war in Syria has demolished many parts of the city of Aleppo. Public buildings, apartment blocks and shops are bombed and looted, sometimes leaving personal belongings scattered through the streets.

One morning, Syrian photographer Issa Touma found the remains of a collection of glass plates, negatives and prints from a photo studio in Bawabet Al Qasab street, made between the 20s and 70s. Studio Aleppo presents these images from the past today, in order to honour the lost people of Aleppo.

In addition, Studio Aleppo is a pop-up photo studio, where citizens of the city where the project is on display are invited to have their portrait taken by a prominent local photographer. Refugees who have arrived in this city are invited to do the same. As a welcoming gesture, citizens of the city pay for two portraits: their own and a refugees’ portrait.

The photos are added to an evolving collection, to be displayed side by side in a portrait gallery and online on www.studioaleppo.eu. Through photographing the recently arrived refugees and including them in a collection of portraits, the project aims to stimulate a feeling of recognition and inclusion.

Authors

Issa Touma is a photographer and curator based in Aleppo (Syria). His photographic work can be found in international collections, including the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.

Finding himself isolated from the international art community in his own country, Touma established the Black and White Gallery, the first photography gallery in the Middle East, in 1992. After its closure in 1996, Touma founded Le Pont, an independent art organisation and gallery that promotes freedom of expression and stimulates the local art scene through international events.

In 1997, he started the International Photography Festival Aleppo, which despite the horrors and uncertainties of the conflict, continues to take place every year. In 2012, shortly after the war broke out, he initiated Art Camping. This event in the form of workshops counters violence with artistic interventions. Its aim is to bring young people from various religious and ethnic backgrounds together, encouraging them to express themselves through culture.

website

Koos Breukel (b. 1962) was born in The Hague, Netherlands. He currently lives and works in the Amsterdam, Netherlands. Breukel is Holland’s most prolific portrait photographer. His debut book The Wretched Skin (1994) is considered one of the best Dutch photo books of the 20th century. Many followed, as well as many portraits, among which the official state photos of King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima of the Netherlands. Breukel has had solo exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art (Finland) and at the Musée Européenne de la Photographie (Paris). His work can be found in the collections of the Stedelijk Museum, Rijksmuseum (Amsterdam), Gemeentemuseum (The Hague), and the San Francisco MoMA.

website

Juuso Westerlund is a photographer based in Helsinki, Finland. He graduated from Aalto University school of Arts. He works on personal projects and commissioned work for editorial and commercial clients.  His photographs reveal a never ending curiosity and love of people, joy of the absurd and surreal.

Westerlunds work has appeared i.e. New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Vice, Le Monde M Magazine, Monocle, Die Zeit, The Wire, Stern, Slate Magazine,  Financial Times Weekend Magazine among others.

website

Robin de Puy graduated from the Fotoacademie Rotterdam in 2009. She subsequently won the Photo Academy Award 2009 and was nominated for various photography prizes. Her work is published in a number of national and international magazines, including New York magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, ELLE, L’Officiel, Volkskrant, LINDA and many more. She lives and works in Amsterdam as well as in New York City.

website

Platforms

Aleksander, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Aleksander, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Koos Breukel
Alja, Wilpert and Mia, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Alja, Wilpert and Mia, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Koos Breukel
Carla, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Carla, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Koos Breukel
Jurre and Wissam, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Jurre and Wissam, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Koos Breukel
Damir and Ella, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Damir and Ella, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Koos Breukel
Tarek, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Tarek, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Koos Breukel
Mozes and Nelson, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Mozes and Nelson, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Koos Breukel
Luyi, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Luyi, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Issa Touma
Kees, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Kees, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Issa Touma
Ena, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Ena, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Issa Touma
Karolina, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Karolina, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Issa Touma
Mustafa, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Mustafa, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Issa Touma
Amjad, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Amjad, Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Issa Touma
Negative found by Issa Touma in Aleppo
Negative found by Issa Touma in Aleppo
Photo found by Issa Touma in Aleppo
Photo found by Issa Touma in Aleppo
Negatives found by Issa Touma in Aleppo
Negatives found by Issa Touma in Aleppo
Campaign image Studio Aleppo [Helsinki]
Campaign image Studio Aleppo [Helsinki]
Monumental portrait gallery Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] at Felix Meritis
Monumental portrait gallery Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] at Felix Meritis
© Luuk Kramer
48 portraits were exhibited during Unseen Photo Fair and Festival from 16 - 25 September 2016
48 portraits were exhibited during Unseen Photo Fair and Festival from 16 - 25 September 2016
© Luuk Kramer
Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] at Felix Meritis
Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] at Felix Meritis
© Luuk Kramer
Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] at Felix Meritis
Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] at Felix Meritis
© Luuk Kramer
Found negatives displayed on light boxes at Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] at Felix Meritis
Found negatives displayed on light boxes at Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] at Felix Meritis
Found negatives displayed on light boxes at Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] at Felix Meritis
Found negatives displayed on light boxes at Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] at Felix Meritis
A small portrait gallery of Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] in the windows of Effe bij moeder An
A small portrait gallery of Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] in the windows of Effe bij moeder An

Coming up: Studio Aleppo [Helsinki]

Soon: Studio Aleppo [The Hague]
The third Studio Aleppo will emerge at the Humanity House in The Hague (NL)! On 16 and 17 September the renowned Dutch photographer Robin de Puy will portray fifty ‘old’ and ‘new’ citizens of The Hague in a pop-up studio. As a welcoming gesture, citizens of the city pay for two portraits: their own and a refugees’ portrait.

Upcoming Studio Aleppo’s
In the fall of 2017, Studio Aleppo travels to Berlin (Germany).

Previous: Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
In September 2016, Amsterdam had the kick off of this European project with star photographer (and Amsterdam inhabitant) Koos Breukel and the Syrian photographer and festival organiser Issa Touma. During Unseen Photo Festival and Fair (2016), Koos Breukel installed his photo studio on 17 and 18 September at Felix Meritis. Issa Touma worked on 19 and 20 September in Spaarndammerbuurt. Portraits were printed and framed on site, resulting in a monumental portrait gallery at Felix Meritis and a small scale portrait gallery on the windows of Effe bij Moeder An in Spaarndammerbuurt, on view during the festival.

Previous: Studio Aleppo [Helsinki]
The National Museum of Finland’s Studio Aleppo [Helsinki] is part of an international series of events, the goal of which is to strengthen the importance of empathy and equality in the discussion concerning immigration. Studio Aleppo [Helsinki] brought together new and old citizens of Finland, who were photographed by award-winning photographer Juuso Westerlund on 5 and 6 August. The portraits were displayed side by side in an exhibition at the National Museum of Finland, from 10 – 17 August. Each portrait as a symbolic gesture, a declaration of intent for creating a new, equal future for all.

Interested in organising a Studio Aleppo in your own city? Please contact via aw@paradox.nl
  • 17.09.201625.09.2016Felix Meritis, Amsterdam (NL)

    20.09.201625.09.2016Effe bij moeder An, Amsterdam (NL)

    05.08.201706.08.2017Pop-up photo studio at National Museum of Finland, Helsinki (FI)

    10.08.201717.08.2017National Museum of Finland, Helsinki (FI)

    16.09.201717.09.2017Pop-up studio at Humanity House, The Hague (NL)

    20.09.201730.10.2017Humanity House, The Hague (NL)

  • Found glass plates, negatives and prints from Aleppo. Portrait gallery with photographs of residents and refugees and their stories. In addition, there’s a pop-up photo studio on location, where prominent photographers will portray current and new citizens.

  • Koos Breukel (Photographer [Amsterdam])
    Issa Touma (Photographer [Amsterdam] and initiator)
    Juuso Westerlund (Photographer [Helsinki])
    Lots of People (Design and webdesign)

Registration page for Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam].
Registration page for Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam].
Registration page for Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam].
Registration page for Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam].
Registration page for Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam].
Registration page for Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam].

Website

All participants of Studio Aleppo will be interviewed. Everyone will be asked the same questions, about where they are from, their dreams for the future and important values. The conversations are meant to uncover similarities amongst the participants and can be the starting point of a conversation at a later stage.

The portraits and statements from the participants of the photo studios will be presented in an online portrait gallery: www.studioaleppo.eu. This collection will expand over time when photo studio’s are organised on various locations throughout the Netherlands and Europe.

Renowned photographer Koos Breukel portrays old and new citizens of Amsterdam
Renowned photographer Koos Breukel portrays old and new citizens of Amsterdam
© Tiago Rosado
Interviewing a participant during Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Interviewing a participant during Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Portraits being edited at Felix Meritis
Portraits being edited at Felix Meritis
The making of Studio Aleppo Amsterdam
The making of Studio Aleppo Amsterdam
Photographer Issa Touma portraying one of the neighbours of the Spaarndammerbuurt
Photographer Issa Touma portraying one of the neighbours of the Spaarndammerbuurt
Festive wrap-up of Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam], Bahram Sadeeghi interviewing Issa Touma
Festive wrap-up of Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam], Bahram Sadeeghi interviewing Issa Touma
Festive wrap-up of Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Festive wrap-up of Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Tiago Rosado
Festive wrap-up of Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Festive wrap-up of Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
© Tiago Rosado
Festive wrap-up of Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Festive wrap-up of Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Festive wrap-up of Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
Festive wrap-up of Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]

News

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Events

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In the media

  • Jan van Tienen, VICE Netherlands

    Hagenezen kochten voor een prikkie een portret van Robin de Puy

    Download » Read more »
    Download

  • Studio Aleppo: photography as a weapon

    Ton Hendriks, Pf Read more »
  • Ik keek een middagje mee met de legendarische portretfotograaf Koos Breukel

    Jan van Tienen, VICE Netherlands Read more »
  • This is what you have to (Un)seen

    CJP Read more »
  • Interview with Koos Breukel on Studio Aleppo

    Pieter van der Wielen, Nooit meer slapen Read more »

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