Analysis of the Visibility of Bedouin Women in the Negev, As Reflected
in the Private Photographic Archive of Dr. Ben-Assa, an Israeli
Among the tens of thousands of photographs taken from the mid-19th century to the end of the second third of the 20th century in the Middle East and Palestine, there are relatively few photographs of Bedouin women. The paucity of photographs of Bedouin women in the 19th and early 20th centuries affected visual constructions of Bedouin women by Western photographers, allowing room for stereotypes, which circulated and influenced image production in the Western world, as well as cultural practices of viewing Bedouin women by Western audiences.In general, Bedouin women, living in a "traditional male dominated society" were absent from the visual public sphere (Abu Rabia and Oplatka, 2008, 398). Behrend explains that there exists an "ideal (gendered) modesty, purity and seclusion that does not allow women to expose themselves in public" (Behrend 2013, 148).
The study explores his photographs and aims to understand whether, under his circumstances as healthcare provider, he succeeded in creating an alternative visual representation of Bedouin women, taking into account the social status of women in Bedouin society and gender discrimination against them.