GEORGE, D. S. [photographer]. The Heightening of the Aswan Dam 1907 to 1912. [Egypt, 1912].
Oblong folio. Original crushed black morocco over pebble-grained cloth, ruled in gilt, front cover lettered in gilt, all edges gilt, yellow watered endpapers, printed presentation bookplate by the Egyptian government, dated December 23, 1912 and made out in ink to C. Carkeet James inside front cover; pp. [iv], section of the river upstream from the dam, mounted on boards, followed by 20 mounted full-plate silver gelatine prints, measuring 24 x 29 cm; cloth a little faded, corners with light wear, text with light spotting, one photo with a spot and faded areas, two with light offsetting from opposite image, otherwise a very good copy of this beautiful and very rare commemorative album.
'The first Aswan Dam was built at the dawn of the twentieth century and celebrated as a triumph of imperial engineering. Five years after its completion, workers returned to extend the dam. Photographer D. S. George recorded both the building and extension projects for the Egyptian Public Works Department in a series of images that give a unique insight into the place of engineering in the imperial imagination. The dam was built at the same time as Britain was seeking to secure its domination of the Nile Valley, having recently seized control of Sudan. Mastering the river’s water was vital to expanding agriculture in Egypt, a central plank of British policy in the region' (abstract of Samuel Grinell's Mastering the Nile? Confidence and Anxiety in D. S. George’s Photographs of the First Aswan Dam, 1899–1912, online under https://academic.oup.com/envhis). The high-quality photos are not just engineering photos but strong images of collective work and the project with surrounding landscapes, almost anticipating artistic Soviet photography of the 1920s and 30s. Two Ministers of Public Works oversaw the project, first H. E. Fakhry Pasha, who was succeeded by H. E. Ismail Sirry Pasha in 1908.