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5 Photographers Who Capture Egypt’s Chaos and Complexity Like No Other

May 8, 2021

Lovers on a Bridge (photo: Rania Shereen)

Egypt has inspired hundreds of songs, poems and books. Its noises, faces and landscapes are every artist’s fuel, yet no one will ever come close to the country’s photographers and visual artists. They not only call Egypt home, it is also their muse.

From photojournalism and street photography, to landscape and still life, these photographers have, over the years, rendered a portrait of Egypt that is as vibrant, colorful and complex as the country itself. And in the process of creating this never-ending mosaic of scenes from Egyptian life, these photographers have illuminated what it means to experience Egypt’s chaos, complexity and, occasionally, its cruelty.

Roger Anis


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One of Egypt’s most celebrated photojournalists, Roger Anis has documented and reported on life in Egypt for over a decade. His style ranges from editorial, to portraiture, all the way to visual journalism and street photography.

Working with some of the world’s biggest media organizations, including National Geographic, Le Monde, Time Magazine, The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal, Anis’ photography has helped shape the global consciousness about Egypt.

Karim El Hayawan


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Famous for his intimate visual musings on Egypt’s urban landscape, Karim El Hayawan is inarguably the Middle East and North Africa’s most prolific street photographers. An architect and photographer, El Hayawan is also one of Egypt’s few modern-day polymaths.

His photography draws on more than inspiration, it reflects his deep understanding of Egyptian society and his overall cultural awareness. With crisp, mesmerizing visuals, El Hayawan captures the subtleties of Egyptian street culture and his body of work can be seen as an urban visual rhetoric of Cairene life.

Rania Shereen


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From portraiture and bridal photography, all the way to still life and urban scenes, Rania Shereen is a Cairo-based photographer whose talent and eye for beauty render a unique portrayal of Egyptian life. Having burst onto the scene as a wedding photographer, Shereen has produced timeless portraits of love, but her work is far wider in breadth.

Like a true artist, Shereen tackled the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on Egypt with art, producing a photo series that truly captured the outbreaks’ social fallout. The photos conveyed a cinéma vérité take on city life in the time of coronavirus and cemented Shereen’s reputation as a diverse and capable photographer.

Mohamed Mamdouh


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Mohamed Mamdouh might be a less familiar name for those who don’t follow Egypt’s arts and culture scene, but his photography is an integral part of Egypt’s visual narrative nonetheless.

Capturing scenes of everyday life across Egypt, Mamdouh’s photography explores human and emotional depths many might easily overlook. It is not only a testament to his mastery of the art form, but a true indication of his understanding of Egyptian society and the country’s human and cultural tapestry.

Mahmoud Hawary


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Capturing beauty in the scenes of everyday life across Egypt is not an easy feat, yet photographer Mahmoud Hawary is able to unearth and shine a light on the magnificence of the country’s character and the diverse people whose grit, guts and and joie de vivre help shape it.

From portraiture and still life, to street photography, Hawary’s work is an ode to Egyptian diversity and joy. And having worked with big media organizations, like BBC and National Geographic, Hawary’s photography has helped offer the world a window into Egypt’s very soul.

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