A body of work that is influenced by the artist’s experience working in tourism development in Jordan, Bedu centers around the question of identity as performance. Just as early Western orientalist photography used the lens as a tool to define ‘the Arab man’, so does the voyeurism of today’s traveler continue to perpetuate the image of ‘the Other’. Forever represented as the nomadic man living a quaint life in the desert, the Bedouin man, unlike the rest of the world, is seen as immune to the impact of time, development, and modernity.
Working in collaboration with Bedouin men of the Wadi Rum desert in Jordan, Farah Foudeh created this series as an inclusive and reflective body of work, offering an alternative performative take on the viewer’s vision of the man, the desert and the relationship that binds them. The Bedouin are seen performing within the frame, either losing themselves into the landscape or returning the gaze to the viewer. This dance within the landscape emphasizes the performative role that plays into most aspects of the tourism industry. As a person who seeks to experience people and places through your lens, what role might you play in this performance, and how might you be shaping the reality of the people who are captured through your lens?