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New exhibition from legendary photojournalist George Rodger opens in Dubai

Words by Rob Chilton

Remarkable images take us back to the 1940s and 1950s

Few names are as renowned in photojournalism as George Rodger. Born in 1908, the British photographer documented World War II in the deserts and jungles of places such as Iran, North Africa, Burma and China. Rodger’s photographs showing the devastation of England during the Blitz of 1940 ­– and the resilience of the British people – landed him a job as war correspondent for Life magazine. However, when Rodger became the first photographer to take images of the concentration camps at Bergen-Belsen at the end of the war, his reputation as one of the greats was sealed.

George Rodger/Iconic Images Pyramids at Giza, 1941

Distraught at what he saw in the death camps, Rodger resigned as a war correspondent and instead carved out a career recording the wildlife and people of Africa and the Middle East. In 1947 he was a co-founder of the famous Magnum Photos agency with Robert Capa, Henri Cartier-Bresson and David (Chim) Seymour and, later, had his work published around the world, including in National Geographic Magazine.

George Rodger/Iconic Images George Rodger embarks on a Trans-Sahara Expedition for National Geographic Magazine, 1957

Now, Rodger’s record of life in the Middle East in the 1940s and 1950s can be seen at Dubai’s Masterpiece Fine Art gallery in Wafi City. Rodger captures Bedouin soldiers riding camels, a soldier holding his hawk, rays of light streaming through the souqs of Baghdad, the Pyramids at Giza and His Hashemite Highness Emir Adbullah ibn Hussein of Jordan, who later became the king of Jordan.

George Rodger/Iconic Images Arab Legion Patrol, 1941

The gallery calls the exhibition “an historical homage to the insights of life in the region” that offers “a glimpse into the past, told through the lens of one of the world’s most iconic photojournalists.”

George Rodger/Iconic Images Cotton hangs to dry in dyers souk, Tunisia, 1958

The statement adds that Rodger “would often play with his composition or the light but never interfere with the subject. He would let the subject of his images naturally draw focus and visually tell a story to the viewer.”

George Rodger/Iconic Images The souqs of Baghdad, Iraq, 1952

The exhibition is now showing in Dubai Gallery Two at Masterpiece Fine Art in Dubai

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