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Wouter Deruytter (Belgium)
Arabian Knights
Wouter Deruytter, Sheikh Manal, Oman, 1998

How current is the image of the Arab sheikh? The romantic idea of the prince of the desert on his Arabian stallion lives on in Hollywood, but the contemporary sheikh has long since taken to travelling around in a white Rolls Royce. The Flemish photographer Wouter Deruytter was permitted unique access to the very closed Arab palace culture, which generally is accessible only for family members. He recorded the community of businessmen who have become rich on oil, surrounded by their Western paraphernalia. But behind this modern fašade lies the traditional Arab for whom the performance of his race horses still matters more than the closing prices on Wall Street.

Wouter Deruytter (b. 1967) made his name with his portraits of communities that are difficult for outsiders to engage. Previously he photographed cowboys and drag queens in America and circus performers in Egypt. For living and working, Deruytter alternates between Brugge and New York.

Courtesy TORCH Gallery (The Netherlands), Wessel O'Connor Fine Art (USA)