• SL Saoud Photography


Sheikh Saoud had a passion for all things photographic from the rarest 19th Century prints, through exotic cameras, to contemporary commissions.  His photographs cross all genres, the earliest originating in 1826, a decade before photography was even revealed to the world.  He acquired important individual pieces at public auction and large collections by private sale.  One of his most significant purchases for Qatar Museums was the 136 masterpieces of the renowned Bokelberg collection, several of wich appear in the exhibition, while many cameras came via the photographic inventor and collector Fred Spira (1924 – 2007).


This camera is an example of the earliest type ever sold for making daguerreotypes. It is fitted with a single- element ’landscape lens‘: a slow lens suitable only for long exposures of stationary subjects. Alongside is a box of unexposed silver plates and the apparatus for developing them in mercury vapour.
Daguerreotype camera, mercury fuming box and plates

Alphonse Giroux & Co.
c. 1839


Taken on the Mediterranean coast near Montpellier in spring 1857, the ‘Great Wave‘ is not only Le Gray’s masterpiece, but one of the most celebrated images of 19th-century photography. A composite image, it was made by combining separate exposures for the sea and sky.

Grande Vague - Cette”
(“Great Wave, Sete”)
Gustave Le Gray (1820 - 1884)
April 1857
Albumen print


Sheikh Saoud’s collections include some of the most iconic images of 20th Century photography.  Among the equipment are NASA cameras and special commissions form renowned lens makers Leica and Zeiss.  Stories of the Sheikh’s adventures are legendary in the photographic world.  Active as a patron, he will long be remembered for establishing the Al Thani award (the top prize for which was a special edition Leica M6 camera).

François-Marie Banier, Sheikh Saoud Al Thani, Abu Simbel, December 2002
©François-Marie Banier