Seeking New Landscapes: One Woman's Photographic Journey in April 1931 from Germany to the Middle East


Shimon Gibson


It is 1931 and Lily Waldthausen is from an affluent German family who sets out with her husband and children on a cruise that will take them along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea towards the Middle East. Lily has a professional camera to indulge her fascination for capturing images of ancient sites and landscapes. But instead of just taking snapshots, Lily manages to produce an amazing array of images depicting sites from the Parthenon in Athens to the Sphinx of Egypt, with a unique picture of the dirigible Graf Zeppelin taken from on board the steamship S.S. Sierra Cordoba as it sailed into Corfu.

Lily is an unknown amateur photographer but her pictures communicate that she had a full professional understanding of the notion of pictorialism; her love of architecture and landscapes radiates out from her pictures and they allow us to travel with her through time. As Shimon Gibson points out in this book: "Her photographs are of a high standard, and an intelligent creativity emanates through her work. There is romanticism there, but never sentimentality. Her pictures are well framed, and there is a concern with focus and perspective for pictorial advantage. She was also quite selective in her picture-taking endeavor and each frame had to be successful. The pictures show her determination to capture each chosen moment of her trip efficiently and creatively, while leaving a little bit to serendipity."

Author Biography

Shimon Gibson

Dr Shimon Gibson is Professor of Practice in the History Department of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the UNC Charlotte, teaching among other subjects history of photography. He received his PhD in 1995 from the Institute of Archaeology, University College London. Between 1989 and 1994, he was the Photographic Archivist at the Palestine Exploration Fund in London, studying a large collection of nineteenth-century photographs taken in the Middle East. Gibson is the author of numerous papers on the history of photography and early exploration. His book on early photographs of Jerusalem, entitled Jerusalem in Original Photographs 1850-1920, was published by Stacey International in 2003, and his book Tourists, Travellers and Hotels in Nineteenth-Century Jerusalem (co-authored with Chapman and Shapira) was published in 2013 by Maney Publishers in Oxford.



January 5, 2021