Portuguese architect Fernando Varanda’s reference photographs of 1970s Yemen. Part One.
These photographs were taken in 1970s Yemen by a Portuguese architect and urban planner named Professor Fernando José de Sá Martins Varanda. In 1973, Varanda began extensive research specifically on built spaces in Yemen.
Every image is titled with architecture and urban planning in mind. Varanda was interested in how the Yemeni’s construct their buildings, how they utilise them, plan them, live in them. Not in photography as art. His images are simply architectural research documentation. Each image is captioned with reference in mind: cheap stone constructions, constructions in brick and stone, house types and spaces, mountain houses, alabaster windows and facades, elementary shelters, tents, cave dwellings, temporary shelters, thatched houses, etc.
Some fifty years on, Varanda’s images have moved beyond their original purpose and live (in the archives of Lisbon’s Biblioteca de Arte da Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian) as mighty fine images of one of the most difficult and dangerous places on earth for us to visit today.