Rositta is the main character in RS’s photographs, a companion and muse, whose images remained private until I arrived in Beirut, for a photographic residency at the Arab Image Foundation, in the summer of 2015…
Coffee table book edition
to be used for display on a table and entertain guests
waterproof paper protects from coffee marks and food stains
care instructions: wipe clean only
9 pages 28.5 x 40.5 cm each
85.5 x 121.5 cm assembled
ROSITTA (Hamra, Beirut, RS family home)
editing and design paula roush
photographic source EPS Collection/ Arab Image Foundation
published by msdm
In 2005, two dozen rolls of undeveloped 35mm film were deposited at the Arab Image Foundation. Stored in a bespoke wooden box each film roll was carefully wrapped in tin foil and enclosed in individually fitted drawers, carefully protected against Beirut’s dampness. EPS had found them in the family house, and brought them in for conservation and preservation. They were his uncle’s work, a Lebanese banker know as RS, born in 1904, who died of a heart attack when he was 54.
Rositta is the main character in RS’s photographs, a companion and muse, whose images remained private until I arrived in Beirut, for a photographic residency at the Arab Image Foundation, 10 years later in the summer of 2015. One day I asked the librarian if there were any seedy… sexy…photographs, any collection troubling the archive that I could work with. She brought two ring binders labelled EPS collection, with A6 size snap prints. She didn’t know much about “the family” in the photographs, just that something was not quite right. She also warned me that it was “super private” (she whispered her words). The mysterious atmosphere in the photographs is beyond strict family conventions – more like a photo-roman noir including road trips, jet flights and secretive hotel room encounters. Was RS following a script? Or did things just happen as life unravelled itself in a glamorous pre-war Beirut and Lebanon? What looked like an unconventional family album was something else, well beyond expectations.
rositta explores the conventions of the photobook genre: using one single image it is designed literally for the table, a humorous twist of the “coffe-table book.” The photograph is rendered bitmap, a process usually leading to the photo silkscreen surface a condition that is eschewed here in favor of high contrast laser printing, and waterproof paper to protect from coffee marks and food stains.