Articles Tagged with: Leica MP 0.58
Egypt | Cairo, Feb 26 – March 5, Part VII

They talk about the dustiness of Cairo and it is true, it is a dusty desert city much like Los Angeles or Phoenix to the power of 20. But I will be even more graphic for you: you get some crazy ass black boogers walking around Cairo. And do not blow your nose near people or in public and for god’s sake, especially not around people eating.

This guy below. I may be painting an unrealistic portrait of immediate post-revolutionary Cairo and Egypt with all these happy glowy images but this is the shit I saw. Maybe it is the shit I wanted to see. There is no absolute, objective truth in photography, but there is my truth, my take take on the world.

And here is my take: this guy was funny and we laughed our asses off.

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

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

 

These brothers were making falafel in this dirty alley, the rich aroma of the oil perfuming the air. There was no restaurant or store front in sight so I assume that they were delivering these to local vendors. They gave me one for free and refused to accept my money. They took some Marlboros of course. That falafel was of course the best, freshest, lightest falafel I have ever had. Straight out of the oil into my mouth.

Goddamn.

And then I had to change film rolls with shiny greasy fingers.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

I rode the subways in Cairo only a few times but I loved them. Well, I love subways in general and always try to take them when I can wherever I travel. The system in Cairo is super cheap, one pound (17 cents) for a one way ride. Received a lot of stares on the cars but that was to be expected.

This was taken at the station underneath Tahrir Square which is a major hub.

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

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

 

See that Ladies sign? I thought that it was pointing to the ladies room. When my train arrived and I was about to enter a car, a helpful passerby pointed to the next car and said in English, “please.” I looked inside the car that I had been about to enter. It was full of women, some pointing and giggling at me.

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

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

 

I remembered reading that Omar Sharif smoked a minimum of 50 cigarettes a day, sometimes breaking the three pack mark on good days. My immediate thought was bullshit. I smoke a lot, used to smoke a lot more, and a pack and a half a day is actually hard to do and takes a lot of time and effort. Omar, I love ya, but bullshit.

Then I arrived in Cairo. My God, they are smokers and I’m Korean. By the time I left, I was near to two packs a day. And the cigarettes are super cheap, of course, because the local Cairene wouldn’t be able to afford them. My Marlboros (from Switzerland) were about $1.10, a bit better than the $13 in New York.

Omar, sorry I doubted you.

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

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

 

The view of the Nile from the Semiramis Intercontinental. Good night, Cairo.

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

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


Egypt, Cairo | The Garage

I stumbled upon these guys trying to remove an engine block with a chain tied around the blades of a forklift. It wasn’t a garage at all but just a forklift and a car on the street and a bench against the wall for the spectators. Behind them were a chorus of neighborhood guys, commenting and laughing at things. I had a blast with these guys.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Egypt | Cairo, Feb 26 – March 5, Part VI

This shot below was taking on a Friday. Spreading their prayer mats out in the street, these men took over this busy thoroughfare blocking all traffic. Some of the muezzin or calls to prayers that I heard blaring throughout the city were absolutely captivating, these strong voices, a plaintive wail calling out through the din.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Life in Cairo means days spent at the cafe, smoking sheesha and drinking chai. I was welcomed at all of these places and spent hours each day, chatting with the men, sharing cigarettes, laughing at their games.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Egypt | Cairo, The Coptic Quarter

Just a smattering of shots from the Coptic Quarter, one of the oldest neighborhoods in Cairo. There are some amazing sights and buildings there: the hanging church, Babylon Fortress, Greek Church of St. George and a couple of spectacular cemetaries. Of course, I had no interest in old ass buildings.

Send me down any side street and I am happy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Coptic Christian girls.

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

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

 

This was Ishmael. I met him right outside the Coptic Quarter historical district. His wife had just given birth to a daughter a few days ago and he was exhausted from the lack of sleep and the worry about his future. With no tourists coming into the country and the nation in such turmoil, he did not know how he was going to provide for his family.

His English was excellent but he couldn’t write it so I helped compose a letter for him to his friend in Australia, announcing the birth of his daughter. He bought me a shai and we spent the afternoon, looking at girls walk by in the sun.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Egypt | Cairo, Feb 26 – March 5, Part V

Walk down any side street or alley in Cairo and you are entering residential neighborhoods, no street signs, no signs of any kind, dirt streets covered in trash, people drying laundry, sitting on stoops, drinking tea. And since you are entering their domain, swarms of children playing. Kids followed me wherever I went. Sometimes I could take their photo and stop them following me. The real trick I found out was to head into a cafe and order a shai. The cafes are the domains of adult men and the clamoring kids steer clear.

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

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

This is by no means a great image, a group photo of smiling kids, but the light was absolutely perfect in that alley and they glowed.

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

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

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

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

In the Coptic Quarter, I was told by the locals to not enter the warren of side streets without someone accompanying me. It was fine and people were friendly.

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

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

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

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

This mother and daughter were gorgeous.

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

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

The street cats. I have never seen more cats in my life than in Cairo. They rule the streets and live among the trash and rubble in the residential areas. People feed them though there is enough litter that there is no need for that. I was at a cafe somewhere near Tahrir Midan and one of the waiters laid out a plate of food on top of some boxes for the local cats. The kids do not play with them and they are pretty much ignored as I never saw anyone even looking at one, much less petting one. The cats were all extremely clean and healthy looking.

The cat goddess Bastet was worshipped in Bubastis with one temple even having mummified cats. I do not know the significance of the cat in the lives of Egyptians but they are tolerated, respected and were revered. There is a story of a Roman soldier running a cat over with his chariot and killing it. Despite the pleas of the local authorities, the mob descended upon the soldier and killed him.

Regardless of the history with occupying forces, I can guarantee you that Cairo is a vermin and snake free city.

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

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


Egypt | Cairo, Feb 26 – March 5, Part IV

Cairo with a population of around 15 million is the most populous city in Africa. Wandering its streets, it feels like a city of 15 million. I spent several days there and didn’t even crack more than three neighborhoods. It is a massive sprawl of a town; dirty, lively and exciting.

There is trash everywhere. I saw very few trash cans and the ones I did were fairly empty, with the litter carpeting the streets. The legendary traffic is also amazing, a different kind of chaos from Hanoi or other cities where traffic laws are considered more of suggestions.

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

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

 

Taken near a hospital, this father and daughter image was shot in a playground that was literally in the middle of a busy thoroughfare under a bridge.

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

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

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

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

 

I did see lots of men and women going to work but I also did see lots of men lounging around, smoking sheesha, drinking tea, playing backgammon.

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

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

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

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

 

The tea in Egypt or shai is almost always Lipton. It is very strong and very sweet and always served with a glass of water. I must have averaged around five or six glasses a day and many, many cigarettes. Even when I was at my most lost in many neighborhoods, there was always a cafe to cop a squat and get a glass of shai.

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

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

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

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

 

One of my favorite shots from my trip, this young boy was a glow and the dirty alley with the tile floor was typical of any residential side street. And of course, the ubiquitous street cat.

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

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

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

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

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

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


Egypt, Tahrir Square | My Favorite Shot

This might not be a great image, it might be full of clichés, rehashing famous images shot over and over the past hundred and fifty years, but I love this shot. This young girl and her flag are a summation of my feeling towards Tahrir Square and all of the events that I was fortunate enough to witness.

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


Frame Zero | Cairo, Tahrir Square

Exposing frame zero is a phenomenon that happens a lot with rangefinders and older SLRs that do not have the auto load feature. Many times part of this frame has been exposed to direct light as the film was being threaded with the back of the camera open. Also many times, this frame tends to contain a good image. I find these frame zeros fascinating and enjoy discovering good ones, the blown out negative space adding to the image instead of destroying it.

Here is one from Tahrir Square in Cairo, shot on March 4th, 2011

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


Egypt | Tahrir Square, Feb 26 – March 5, Part III

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


Egypt | Tahrir Square, Feb 26 – March 5, Part II

This gentleman was amazing. We talked politics in Egypt, Korea and the states for about an thirty minutes. His English was perfect. When I asked how he learned to speak so well, he said that he was a huge admirer or Charles Dickens and Jane Austen. We talked about Emily Brontë for another half an hour.

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

 

These young men were especially vocal. They saw me shooting them and told me not to take their photos. The men next to them told me it was fine and to keep taking photos. They started arguing which devolved into a bit of shoving. I left.

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

 

These brothers were typical of my experience in Tahrir. They spoke very little English but they welcomed me to Egypt and wanted to know what I thought of all the recent changes there. And to not take their photo after I had talked to them would have been impolite.

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

 

Most everyone I talked to had the same concerns: the economy. Egyptians were having a tough enough time the past few years with protests over the price of bread and the job market for the young being one of the more bleak in the middle east. They desired most a democratically elected government and a stable environment that would allow the economy to prosper. Jobs and the quality of life. All other concerns were secondary.

There were two things that shocked the people I talked to: that the State Department was telling US citizens not to travel to Egypt and that the US economy had been in bad trouble for the past couple of years. It is all relative since the average income in Egypt is depressingly low. I’ve heard figures ranging from two dollars a day for a household to $300 a month.

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 vendor roasting yams. He spoke no English and I could not find out who the people were in those images.

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 Egyptians had overthrown Mubarak but there had been hundreds of casualties and the thousands of political prisoners languishing in jail remained where they were incarcerated.

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

 

I had been behind the stage at Tahrir when a security team arrived and this man appeared, the crowd surging the the blockade backstage and swarming over him, hugging and kissing him. I still do not know who he is and I had to leave the backstage area as this man was getting prepared to address the crowd as the crowd became fevered.

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

 

Those kids on top of that traffic pole stayed up there for hours. It is hard to tell in the image but that is really high up there. I waited to see how they would get down but gave up after a while.

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 peace sign is not just the domain of irony free Japanese girls but also Egyptian muslim men who have the same beardlines as the GI Joe toy I had as a kid.

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