Torn, Folded, Curled is an archival publishing project developed during a residency at the Arab Image Foundation, a MENA—Middle East North Africa—photographic archive. It brings a new approach to my long-standing interest in orphan and vernacular photographic collections. During the residency at the Arab Image Foundation, I investigated different types of archival organisation in public photographic archives and their translation into book structures. Working with “torn, folded, curled” images— a working term used at the Arab Image Foundation to categorise heavily damaged photographs that require special care in storage and preservation— also meant developing specific strategies to account for themes of war and memory in photobook sequencing.
Torn, Folded, Curled was produced in the context of the research grant project “Torn, Folded, Curled: Sourcing from the Arab Image Foundation.” From June 22 to July 2 2015, I was in residence at the Arab Image Foundation, Beirut. This residency was supported by the Centre for Media Research (London South Bank University). The residency was primarily focused at sharing archival methodologies used by the Found Photo Foundation in its exhibitions and publications and exploring the potential of the Arab Image Foundation’s photographic collections as source for photobook publishing. Two of the Arab Image Foundation staff —Hala Tawil, archivist/librarian and Charbel Saad, collections manager— assisted me.