Arts & Culture

35mm Film Saved From Garbage Uncovers Rare Footage From Across Egypt

35mm Film Saved From Garbage Uncovers Rare Footage From Across Egypt

One of the images processed by Hamed from the abandoned film
Images processed by Ahmed Hamed from the abandoned film showing al-Sayyed al-Badawi Mosque in Tanta

The only reason anyone would bend to pick something up from among sidewalk trash is if it is of great value. An abandoned treasure is treasure nevertheless, and that’s the idea multimedia journalist Ahmed Hamed, 28, had when he came across a 35mm film negative discarded on the sidewalk among some garbage.

“Every single picture has great value,” said Hamed. “But can you imagine the amount of priceless history, information and art that Egypt loses between the film rolls that are either discarded in the garbage or set ablaze?”

11117244_10153858908464676_8809046995223823520_n

While the idea may sound bizarre to some people, to Hamed it was not only the logical, but the right thing to do, to take the abandoned film into care, to clean it carefully and to try dispatching what the film negative narrates.

As a video and multimedia journalist, it is natural that Hamed is interested in documentation. This is the reason that drove him to learn about preserving visual art and history from the veterans of the field.

10978534_10153858925479676_8264020066545853702_n

“As the world shifted from film photography to digital photography, many studios across Egypt shut down, leaving behind massive archives of film negatives,” said Hamed. “And while these studios had no more room to store the film negatives from their long years in the practice, photos of everyday people along with those of important, high profile people were forever lost.”

Hamed went on to express his deep concern that no efforts are exerted in Egypt to preserve and archive unwanted film negatives.

10956982_10153859109999676_2320068557285984288_n

“For example, one of the pictures where the family is posing in front of al-Sayyed al-Badawy Mosque, is a very important picture,” Hamed said, explaining that he Googled images of the mosque but found none that date to the same time this picture was captured in.

“This picture documents and narrates a time, an instant that I couldn’t find online,” said Hamed. “It’s history!”

According to the journalist, every captured picture holds value that is unique in the frame it captures, as well as the perspective and philosophy that carved it.

11110187_10153859114044676_7903197436583295294_n

“The film which is probably missing a strip is divided among three main places,” said Hamed. “The first seems to be a vacation destination by a beach, the second I guess is at the vacation home, and then the third spot is in Tanta where they took the pictures by al-Sayyed al-Badawi.”

Even though most of us, professional or amateur photographers, have lived briefly or long in the pre-digital photography age, Hamed’s discovery brought about a nostalgic waft from when people took each picture with great care.

10396295_10153859423614676_4489073493626429590_n

“You only had 36 pictures to document an entire trip, so each picture had to count,” he said mocking how he would now take a few hundred pictures for a weekend’s vacation.

“A personal plea; if you ever come across an abandoned roll of film negative, keep it or give it to someone who is concerned with archiving,” said Hamed. “But please don’t burn or throw it away, for it’s part of human history.”

2,300-Year-Old Historic Site To Be Replaced With An Apartment Block In Egypt
Egypt's Bassem Youssef to Host the International Emmy Awards

Subscribe to our newsletter


Arts & Culture

I am a free spirit who finds sanctuary in wandering. People are what I'm most passionate about, and I write to bring forth their stories. the-spit-bucket.blogspot.com ter-hal.blogspot.com

More in Arts & Culture

‘My Private Space’: When Puppets Talk

Aya NaderMay 23, 2017

Nassim el-Raqs: Artistry Unleashed in the City of Alexandria

Engy AdhamMay 17, 2017

Egyptian Poetry Book Celebrates the Cultural Heritage of ‘Shubra’ District

Egyptian StreetsMay 17, 2017

Forget Pricey Books, 6 Places in Cairo That Offer Affordable Books for Bibliophiles

Egyptian StreetsMay 15, 2017

JR’s Global Art Project Comes to Egypt, but Gets Torn Down in 24 Hours

Aya NaderMay 13, 2017

‘Cinema for Humanity’ Film Festival Launches in Egypt’s El Gouna

Aya NaderMay 10, 2017

Experts Meet in Egypt Over the Safe Transportation of King Tut Artifacts

Egyptian StreetsMay 8, 2017

Behind the Scenes With Azza Fahmy at CNN’s Inside the Middle East

Egyptian StreetsMay 7, 2017
Egyptian Streets is an independent, young, and grass roots news media organization aimed at providing readers with an alternate depiction of events that occur on Egyptian and Middle Eastern streets, and to establish an engaging social platform for readers to discover and discuss the various issues that impact the region.

© 2017 Egyptian Streets. All Rights Reserved.