The war in Syria demolished major 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 in 2015, Syrian photographer Issa Touma found the remains of a collection of glass plates, negatives and prints from a photo studio in Al Qassab Street, made between the 1920s and 1970s. This archive was the starting point for the project Studio Aleppo, Picturing (new) European Citizens.
Studio Aleppo is a pop-up photo studio, where ‘old’ residents of a city and recently arrived refugees are invited to have their portrait taken by a prominent photographer. As a welcoming gesture, citizens of the city pay for two portraits: their own and a newcomers’ portrait. The photos are added to an evolving collection of (new) European citizens, to be displayed side by side in a portrait gallery, online as well as in a local or national newspaper. Through photographing newcomers and locals in a similar way and including them in a collection of portraits, the project aims to stimulate a feeling of recognition and inclusion.
Studio Aleppo has been organized in Amsterdam, Helsinki, Berlin and The Hague. The website studioaleppo.eu brings together the stories of (new) European citizens. Based on quotes from the interviews with participants you can uncover common ground between yourself and them.
A traveling project
Previous: Studio Aleppo [The Hague]
The third Studio Aleppo emerged at the Humanity House in The Hague (NL)! On 16 and 17 September 2017 the renowned Dutch photographer Robin de Puy portray forty eight ‘old’ and ‘new’ citizens of The Hague in a pop-up studio. The portraits were on show at the Humanity House until 30 October 2017. At the end of the year, a large scale outdoor exhibition displayed a selection of the portraits on Spuiplein.
Previous: Studio Aleppo [Berlin]
Four photographers connected to Ostkreuz Agency -Sibylle Fendt, Tobias Kruse, Anne Schönharting and Annette Hauschild – portrayed (new) Berliners during the fourth edition of Studio Aleppo at Kühlhaus Berlin. The studio weekend kicked of with the discussion: “Communicable or not? – The visual presentation of flight and migration in the media”. The portrait gallery with large format prints was on show at the same venue from 19 – 27 October 2017. Production by Gesellschaft für Humanistische Fotografie.
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 2017. Each portrait as a symbolic gesture, a declaration of intent for creating a new, equal future for all. Production by MiklagardArts.
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.
All participants of Studio Aleppo will be interviewed. Everyone will be asked the same questions, regarding their background, their dreams for the future and the things they value most. 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 are presented in an online gallery: www.studioaleppo.eu. The collection will expand over time when photo studio’s are organised on various locations throughout the Netherlands and Europe.
Special publication by newspaper Den Haag Centraal
In the week after the studio weekend at Humanity House, local newspaper Den Haag Centraal published a special about the project. Including a ‘behind the scenes’ of Studio Aleppo [The Hague], an interview with Issa Touma and a selection of the portraits made by Robin de Puy.
Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]
‘Old’ and ‘new’ Amsterdam residents: have your portrait taken by photographer Koos Breukel!2 September 2016
Participate in this project and become part of an (online) portrait gallery of the new Amsterdam. And engage in a conversation! Register now at www.studioaleppo.eu 01. Why participate? ‘Old and ‘new’ Amsterdam residents will be portrayed in a portrait studio under the same conditions. Statements of all participants will be gathered by asking short questions. The...Read more
Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] fully booked
Thanks for your overwhelming response8 September 2016
Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] by Koos Breukel is fully booked for Dutch participants! An overwhelming reaction to our call for participants! In just a few days, around 60 citizens from Amsterdam registered. Thanks so much! Refugees are still welcome to enroll for Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam]. Want to stay up to date and have the chance to...Read more
Open call: Organize a local Studio Aleppo
Picturing new (European) citizens17 January 2017
In September 2016 Paradox launched Studio Aleppo [Amsterdam] in collaboration with Koos Breukel and Issa Touma. Studio Aleppo is a project of pop-up studios, in which residents of a city and refugees who have recently arrived there are invited to have their portrait taken by a prominent photographer. As an act of hospitality and solidarity...Read more