Some of the most enigmatic and evocative portraits from the Near East are those of Arab women in traditional costume, and this portrait titled Ayoucha, is no exception. She is dressed modestly in a plain dark robe with veil and shawl, the burqa covering all but her forehead and eyes. She stands at a modest distance from the camera against a plain background, her eyes visible as she looks outward with a penetrating gaze. Under the cloak she seems to have both hands raised as if holding the garment back so that we see her veil more clearly.
Daguerreotyped and named for posterity, "Ayoucha" is a very real person, but everything around her seems abstract and unreal. The plate is not perfectly exposed and is cloudy with colours that blend pinks, blues and browns as you hold and turn it. Her dark form stands out in the centre of this plain milky background floating surreally, mirage-like on the surface.
Girault de Prangey probably made five portraits titled Ayoucha. Two others numbered 158 and 160 remain in the archive and number 162 is in the collection of the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Each is quite different. The whereabouts of no. 161, if it still exists, is not known.