I had made the decision to bring my Leica MP and one lens, the 35mm Summicron, with me on the trip. There were concessions I made to convenience and fast agile shooting by taking a film rangefinder on this eight day trip to Egypt but I was glad I did so. I prefer to shoot with my Leica always though it does not offer the flexibility of an SLR nor the immediate gratification of shooting digital. It’s inconspicuousness on the street is a massive part of its attractiveness and in Egypt, I received so much unwanted attention with the Leica that I cannot imagine having to attempt to shoot there with my big heavy Nikon.
Additionally, I was continually asked whether I was a “free photographer.” Someone finally translated this for me on the fourth day of my trip. “Free” meant that I was not a photojournalist as there was a healthy distrust of news media and their dangerous inability to tell the truth. I was glad that I had been responding, yes, I am a free photographer.
A man behind me was furious with me that I had taken this shot. I do not know why but he yelled at me and came right up to me afterwards, the little boy sleeping through the whole exchange. I tried to show him examples of my photography but he was not interested. As is the case on the streets there, we were getting the attention of people and a small crowd was gathering around the man yelling at me.
Again, feet do your thing and let’s get the hell out of here.
A couple of teenagers out on a Friday, heading to Tahrir Square to demonstrate or celebrate the new Egypt. I very much love what this image means.
Many women, even the Coptic Christians, dress very conservatively if not completely covered. To see a woman dressed what is normal by standards in the states, is such an amazing and powerful statement, a beacon of femininity and even sensuality.
The food vendor cart he was standing on kept getting jostled by the crowd and this little boy was continually on the verge of falling. I took many photos while I stood by the cart, making sure he didn’t fall.
You can accuse me of being a pollyanna but I am not a combat photographer and have no desire for that. I travel and wander and when I do, I do see a lot of joy and beauty. So fuck off. This girl was gorgeous and shone like the sun.
Not that I am comparing myself to the master, but this image reminds me of Henri Cartier-Bresson’s shot taken during the funeral for Gandhi.
Even the taxis received a festive makeover.
One issue I continually ran into was the presence of hands holding cell phones taking photos. This was a continual issue in Tahrir as the frame within my viewfinder would fill with a forrest of hands holding mobile phones up to snap images of the same thing I had been focusing on.
This is the world now, a single event to be recorded by a dozen of video cameras and hundreds of mobile phones. I just need to jockey for position faster and harder than the other mugs.
Not only for myself but for the average Egyptian or Cairene, Tahrir was a spectacle worth visiting and recording.