Gallery معرض الصور

CrossRoads is actively working on the Frank Scholten uncatalogued collection. Frank Scholten travelled to the Middle East in the early 1920s, photographing contemporary life in British Mandate Palestine as well as documenting archaeological and historical sites throughout the region.

Scholten’s methodology was atypical juxtaposing religious Christian, Muslim and Jewish scriptures to images of daily life. Although it is tempting to compare his prolific work to more common French and British collections, often explicitly biblified, Scholten adopted a more liberal, multi-confessional approach to imaging.  His work gives us an invaluable historical account of pluralism in Palestine, which eschews the typical European tendency to efface the modern in favour of the ancient.

His two volume books, published first in French, then German, English and finally a singular volume in his native Dutch. Each edition has the same set of images and a relatively stable set of religious quotations, but within them are slight variants.  This shows a keen awareness and sensitivity to the relationship between Europeans and their various affiliations to local populations.

His one and only exhibition was at the Brook Street Gallery in London in 1924.  Though no catalogue appears to have produced for this exhibition which lasted only five days, it is estimated that approximately 2,000 photographs were shown from his body of 22,000.  His books, likewise, only show a few hundred of his images, meaning that the vast bulk of his work has never been seen publicly.

Watch our short documentary Frank Scholten – Photographing Palestine ->


Director: Maartje Alders
Original concept & commissioned by:
Karène Sanchez Summerer
Concept development & research: Sary Zananiri
Consultant editor:
Mohamed A.Gawad

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