Amidst the current sea of COVID-19-related social media posts, memes, news articles and TikToks, 26-year-old photographer Rania Shereen offers us a refreshingly different perspective on quarantine as she invites us into this intimate photo series featuring her nephews.
In these lively photos, we are reminded of life beyond quarantine – by shifting her lens to focus on the varied imaginative ways children make the most of their natural surroundings, Shereen reminds us of both the beauty of youth and of simply living.
“It was the only light thing that has been happening since the beginning of the virus,” explains Shereen as to why she chose to start photographing her nephews. “I’ve always wanted to photograph them while they’re living in nature; I believe if affects how they play and how they perceive things, and I like to photograph humans in nature in general,” she continues.
Five-year-old Farid and nine-year-old Fares may not yet fully grasp what is happening in the world around them, and perhaps it is not necessary for them to fully grasp the extremity of the situation, so long as they get to enjoy the simple pleasures of child’s play.
With schools having been halted and the situation being as murky as it is, Shereen says her nephews initially spent much of their time in quarantine in front of the television. “That’s why the family decided to quarantine away from Cairo,” says Shereen, “And that’s when I started to find interesting moments to photograph.”
Viewing Shereen’s nephews playing out in nature is almost reminiscent of a time past – one before technology’s reign, giving the photographs an almost vintage-like feel to them.
“I feel a connection with almost everyone I choose to photograph, but with them it’s more than a connection, I become part of what they’re doing,” Shereen says of photographing family, “Either Farid finding a bug or a snail around the garden and showing it to me, or painting a rock, or Fares climbing or fishing or riding his bicycle… I like how they let me into their world and I like how they like that I also let them in my world of photography.”
Thanks to Shereen’s unique and soulful eye, we are also given the chance to get invited into their world – a world that perhaps ever so subtly, reminds us of the very essence of our humanity.