Photo Essays

In Photos: Roaming the Streets of Cairo Amidst COVID-19 & Quarantine

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In Photos: Roaming the Streets of Cairo Amidst COVID-19 & Quarantine

A young couple who have the bridge all to themselves on a Friday morning in Cairo. Photo by Rania Shereen.

While most people are staying at home in attempts to social distance and self quarantine, 26-year-old photographer Rania Shereen chooses to battle the odds and roam the streets of Cairo in order to capture how the global pandemic has affected the everyday life of this bustling city. 

“I know these photographs will be of some historical importance one day, I mean how would we know how the streets of Cairo looked like throughout history if photographers weren’t there to visually document it,” explains Shereen as to why she feels as though it’s important to document this period in time. She goes on to say that, “It’s a pandemic and I want to document how we’re surviving it.”

From Heliopolis to downtown Cairo and Shobra, Shereen has been trying to cover as much ground as she can in order to fully portray how people in various areas of the city are coping with the situation at hand. 

“The experience is exciting for me, even though I assure you that I think twice before I go out every time because it won’t be cool or thrilling if I got the virus, but I take my precautions,” says Shereen.

The young photographer goes on to say that, “It feels like a duty, even though on somedays I get back with no photos and I definitely do not consider that I documented it in a good way, but I just go out and try my best, and that’s nice.”

Out of the collection of photos she has taken thus far, Shereen personally feels as though two photos in particular capture the essence of what everyday life is like now in Cairo. “I like the portrait of the guy with the weird mask because I liked his concept of how he preferred this more because he would not have to pay money to get a new mask everyday, and how he was showing off his mask to me,” explains Shereen, “And the lovers on the bridge… I just liked how the bridge was theirs, no one else was there but them and it was a cute scene. Corona won’t stop the love you know.”

Most recently, authorities have declared a nation-wide curfew in Egypt until April 23, starting daily from 8 p.m. until 6 a.m.

Portrait of a man in downtown Cairo and his ‘preferred’ mask. Photo by Rania Shereen.
A small group of cyclers practicing their sport, while maintaining reasonable social distance in Heliopolis. Photo by Rania Shereen.
A man sanitizing the metro in downtown Cairo. Photo by Rania Shereen.
A young man with his mask and sanitizer in downtown Cairo. Photo by Rania Shereen.
‘Lovers on a Bridge’. Photo by Rania Shereen.
A near empty bus shows how public transportation has transformed during corona times in Cairo. Photo by Rania Shereen.
Posters on a mosque door stating that the mosque would be closed for two weeks in compliance with the new measures presented to halt the spread of COVID-19. This time period has now been extended, and mosques and churches are now closed off to the public until further notice. Photo by Rania Shereen.
Portrait of a man in downtown Cairo with his mask. Photo by Rania Shereen.
A portrait of Mohsen, one of the men who sanitize the metro station in downtown Cairo. Photo by Rania Shereen.
Disposed of gloves in downtown Cairo. Photo by Rania Shereen.

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