Latif Al Ani (b. 1932, Karbala) is a photographer who lives and works in Baghdad, Iraq. With a career spanning the late 1950s to the late 1970s, Latif Al Ani is today considered the founding father of Iraqi Photography.

 

Al Ani captured, mostly in black and white, the transformations in urban and rural Iraqi society, offering a unique gaze and testimony of the transitional and prosperous moments in Iraq’s modern history. During two decades, the photographer produced an extensive and invaluable archive and document of the socio-political, economical and cultural landscape.

 

Al Ani started his career as a photographer for the Iraq Petroleum Company in the 1950s and, later in the 1960s, rose to the post as the Head of Photography at the Iraq New Agency.

 

The outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war prompted his decision to cease his photographic journey once and for good. In 2000, artist Yto Barrada met Latif Al Ani during a research mission in Iraq with Wilfried Blanchard from which Barrada brought his practice to the attention of the Arab Image Foundation in Beirut. Since then the foundation has acted as custodian preserving Al Ani’s archives.

 

The work of Latif Al Ani (b. 1932) has been presented in many group exhibitions including the National Pavilion of Iraq, organized by the Ruya Foundation and curated by Philippe Van Cauteren, at the 56th Venice Biennale (2015) that toured to S.M.A.K. (Museum for Contemporary Art), Ghent (2016) and the Erbil Citadel, Iraq (2017), as well as Bagdad Mon Amour at Institut des Cultures d’Islam, Paris (2018) curated by Morad Montazami. An important survey exhibition curated by Hoor Al Qasimi entitled Latif Al Ani: Through the Lens 1953 – 1979, was presented at Sharjah Art Foundation, UAE (2018), while he also participated in Crude, the inaugural exhibition of Jameel Arts Centre, UAE (2019), curated by Murtaza Vali. Al Ani’s first eponymous monograph, published in 2017 by Hannibal Publishing (and Hatje Cantz), won the prestigious 2017 Historical Books Award at Rencontres d’Arles. Al Ani is also the subject of a documentary produced by Iraqi film director Sahim Omar Khalifa and Belgian filmmaker Jurgen Buedts entitled Iraq Invisible Beauty. In 2015, Al Ani became a Prince Claus Laureate.