The odor of pomegranates

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Zaida Ben-Yusuf :: The odor of pomegranates (detail), 1899. Platinum print.
Zaida Ben-Yusuf :: Detail from ‘The odor of pomegranates’, ca. 1900. | original src Library of Congress

Zaida Ben-Yusuf :: The odor of pomegranates, 1899. Platinum photographic print mounted on dark green paper. Description: Photograph shows a woman wearing a long flowing gown, standing in front of curtain, facing left, holding a pomegranate. | src Library of Congress
Zaida Ben-Yusuf :: The odor of pomegranates, 1899. Platinum photographic print mounted on dark green paper. Description: Photograph shows a woman wearing a long flowing gown, standing in front of curtain, facing left, holding a pomegranate. | src Library of Congress

The Odor of Pomegranates is more than simply a portrait, the image represents Ben-Yusuf’s effort to use photography to explore a larger theme: in this case, the seductiveness and potential danger of something desirous.

Ben-Yusuf’s artistic explorations within the tradition of portraiture continued alongside her commercial work. One of the prints she felt was more successful was The Odor, a work that she exhibited on at least half a dozen occasions in the years immediately after its completion in 1899. No other photograph by her was displayed or reproduced as often. This…

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