Photographs during the colonial period can be divided into two main categories. "Private" photographs are those taken for private use - souvenirs, mementos, family portraits. "Public" photographs instead were marketed and sold to the consumers, who purchase them in form of picture postcards and that grew in popularity especially in the late 19th century with its growing interest in orientalism. The most favorite regions where African and Oriental countries, especially Maghreb countries Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Egypt. These colonial postcards can be further divided into these following genres - buildings, streets, monuments, general views and "Scènes et Types".
"Scènes et Types" genre was a generic representation of certain kinds of people (Arab, Berbers, Bedouins,etc) practicing certain kinds of occupations (shoeshine, fabrics vendor, mendicants), participating certain kind of activities (making bread or couscous, serving tea or smoking hookah) and in many type depicted in certain kind of environments far from reality with the intent to create an exotic and erotic pictures for a "colonial voyeurism" public (such as unveiled women with ornate jewelry as a symbol of European colonial domination or in erotic/nude motifs) with the intent to emphasize the ethnic and exotic nature of these women. The models on the "Scènes et Types" postcards were usually categorized like "Type de Mauresque", "Type de Marocaine","Bedouine", "Femme Kabyle", "Femme du sud", "Femme arabe", "La danse", "La sieste", or sometimes having specific names like "Fathma", "Aisha" or "La Belle Zinâ".
Although the Oriental Postcards have acquired a quite negative reputation in the 20th century, a several books about Oriental postcards showing the beauty of photos taken by photographers like Rudolf Lehnert or Jean Geiser have been published in the last decades.