Kamil and Rifat Chadirji Photographic Archive
After this collection arrived at the Aga Khan Documentation Center, Sharon C. Smith, the Program Head of the Center at that time, wrote the following to describe and give context to the Kamil and Rifat Chadirji Photographic Archive:
Kamil Chadirji (1897-1968), born to an influential Baghdad family, played a central role in the political life of lraq as founder and President of the National Democratic Party. His position allowed him unique opportunities to take photographs throughout Iraq and other countries in the Middle East. Kamil’s son, Rifat Chadirji (b. 1926), perhaps better known as one of the most influential Iraqi architects of the 20th century, was also an accomplished photographer, author, teacher, and critic. Together, their vast collection spans more than 5 decades and contains ca. 100,000 negatives and images documenting the Middle East, primarily Iraq.
The collection illustrates daily life, cultural engagement, and social conditions in the Middle East from the 1920s – 1970s. This important record also provides a unique look at the significant transformation of Baghdad’s built environment over time.
Once on loan to the Arab Image Foundation (Beirut, Lebanon), the entire collection has been given to the Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT through a gift from the Chadirji family. In 2016, while on loan to the Arab Image Foundation and with a grant from the Graham Foundation, the photography of Rifat Chadirji, in particular, was highlighted in an exhibition entitled, Every Building in Baghdad: The Rifat Chadirji Archives at the Arab Image Foundation, which opened in Los Angeles, CA early January 2018, before returning to MIT.
On Archnet, the collection is divided into two main sections:
Photographs by Kamil Chadirji Photographs by Rifat Chadirji
While both collections contain images of people and places, the Rifat Chadirji collection also contains a collection of photographs that Rifat Chadirji took of his architectural projects.
As with all archives given to AKDC@MIT Libraries, the collection will be catalogued, digitized, and made available to scholars, students, and research via AKDC’s research portal, Archnet, or in person at the Center. For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sharon C. Smith, Ph.D. Program Head, Aga Khan Documentation Center at MIT (2011-2018) Cambridge, MA 21 December 2017
 Through the generosity of Rifat and Balkis Chadirji, AKDC@MIT also houses the Rifat Chadirji Architecture Archive.
- Jādirjī, Kāmil, 1897-1968 (Photographer, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
200,000 item(s) (102 notebook or box binders with translucent sleeves in which are held the vast majority the photographs, negatives and notes of Rifat Chadirji's photographic material (most photographs are by him, some are images collected by him). Approximately six 5-inch document boxes of photographs and eleven smaller boxes of negatives, hold the Kamil Chadirji photographic material.) : Circa 100,000 negatives, circa 100,000 photographic prints, notes with many of the photographic, circa 1,000 contact sheets, and under a small number of slides (100?). ; To come.
Language of Materials
- Kamil and Rifat Chadirji Photographic Archive
- Data Entry In Progress
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- Language of description note
- Edition statement
- Initial ArchivesSpace draft description.
Part of the Aga Khan Documentation Center, MIT Libraries Repository