The Palestinian Museum
Karima Abboud (1893-1940)
Article published on 26 March 2013
last modification on 6 March 2013

by C.P.
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Karima Abboud is credited with being the first professional woman photographer in Palestine. Born in 1893, Abboud grew up in a multilingual household in Bethlehem where she learned to speak English and German fluently in addition to her native Arabic. Though it is not clear how or where she learned the art of photography, various sources allude to her first receiving a camera as a gift from her father in 1913. She was described in a 1924 advertisement that appeared in the Haifa newspaper, al-Karmel, as “the nation’s only woman photographer”.

Abboud excelled in portraiture. Many of her subjects were family members or middle-class Palestinians that she photographed, often times in their homes, on her various trips around Palestine accompanying her father, a Lutheran preacher. As such, her photographic legacy provides a rare glimpse from a unique perspective into middle-class Palestinian life during the first half of the 20th century.

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