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Temple of Isis at Philae Junghaendel, R. M.  (German, 1888–1898)

Too much cannot be said in praise of Mr Cook and his institution. It enables thousands, who would otherwise stay at home, to enjoy l’éducation d’un voyage; and travel is necessity for the narrow insular mind. [1]

In 1870 Thomas Cook & Son began offering steamboat tours up the Nile River, to the First Cataract and back, that could be accomplished in 20 days. For many 19th and early 20th century travelers, a cruise along the Nile was the centerpiece of a journey to Egypt. Cook’s tours focused on key sites along the river, such as Abydos, Thebes, Philae, and Abu Simbel.

In the preface, the publishers acknowledge their gratitude to John M. Cook of Thomas Cook and Co. for the facilities afforded to Mr Junghaendel during his tour up the Nile. While the photographs were intended to better those more commonly available to tourists, this collection, presented in topographical sequence with explanatory text, was published in order to keep the reminiscences fresh in the memory of those who have returned home, or to awaken the desire to see the wonders of Egypt [of those who have not already] share[d] in this pleasure.

Max Junghaendel was an architect and architectural photographer. Egypt: Aegypten. Heliogravuren nach Original-Aufnahmen, his best known work,combined attention to architectural detail with a fair touch of Oriental romanticism. His pioneering use of artistic photogravure, largely ignored in histories of photography, prefigures that of J. Craig Annan and Alfred Steiglitz and was contemporary with the work of P.H. Emerson.’ [2] ‘These images are highly descriptive but several are also surprisingly romantic for the work of an architect. Local people are carefully composed amongst the ruins to make ‘pictures’… a few of Junghaendel’s views of Egypt have been discovered in the form of photographic prints on silk.’ [3]


[1] Nissan N. Perez, Focus East: Early Photography in the Near East (183901885), New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc.

[2] Jacobson Ken. Odalisques & Arabesques : Orientalist Photography 1839-1925. Quaritch 2007.

[3] ibid p. 245