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.

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

 

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.

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

 

 

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.

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

 

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.

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

 

 

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.

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

 

 

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.

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

 

 

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.

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

 

Even the taxis received a festive makeover.

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

 

 

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.

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

 

 

Not only for myself but for the average Egyptian or Cairene, Tahrir was a spectacle worth visiting and recording.

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X

Tahrir Square, Cairo Egypt, February 2011; Leica MP 0.58, 35mm Summicron, Kodak Tri-X