Colbert Held is a former United States Foreign Service officer who has amassed a photo collection spanning 48 years and 17 countries. He did so to have a detailed, photographic record of all the landscapes he visited, a complete geographical archive of his own. What's particular about his collection is that it captured the Middle Eastern history that escaped documentation. Viewed now, photographs from the past reveal an evolution from an "older" way of living to modernity—or a look back to better times pulverized by current wars. Filmed by Jennifer Smart in collaboration with the Middle East Institute, this short documentary was inspired by Baylor University's Oral Memoirs of Colbert Colgate "Cokie" Held.
The entirety of the Middle East Institute Colbert Held Archive is housed in the Oman Library at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C. Visit the library, or go to www.mei.edu to learn more. To explore Held's oral memoirs, visit the Baylor University Institute for Oral History at http://contentdm.baylor.edu/cdm/ref/collection/buioh/id/8402.
The Short Film Showcase spotlights exceptional short videos created by filmmakers from around the world and selected by National Geographic editors. We look for work that affirms National Geographic's belief in the power of science, exploration, and storytelling to change the world. To submit a film for consideration, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. The filmmakers created the content presented, and the opinions expressed are their own, not those of National Geographic Partners.