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6 Photographers Documenting the Beauty in Egypt’s Mundane 

March 30, 2023
Photo credit: Mona Hassan

Street photography has been on the rise in Egypt with a collective of artists taking run-of-the-mill scenes and bringing them to life through their lens. With regulations easing around photography in public places in Egypt as of 2020, the streets of Cairo, and Egypt at large, have become these artists’ muse; their playground.

Documenting moments that are quintessential examples of living in Egypt, these artists find beauty in the mundane. That ful (fava beans) cart sitting on the corner of a bustling street, lonely and unobtrusive, is suddenly the main character taking centre stage; that child perfectly balancing a basket of freshly baked baladi bread on his head is transformed into the star of the performance; and the neighbourhood presser going about his prosaic day-to-day duties is turned into the hero of the odyssey.

What makes a good street photographer is finding the unfolding story in those fleeting moments that the rest of the world is too busy to take notice of.

Here are the photographers that remould an otherwise humdrum scene into a visual narrative bursting with vibrance and charm.

Nader Saadallah

Egyptian photographer, Nader Saadallah is a videographer and a documentary film director who has amassed over 84 awards since 2010. His work has been featured in a series of renowned publications including National Geographic, Sony World Photography, CNN and Foto Magazine.

His interest in street photography stemmed from the spontaneity that is the definitive characteristic of the method. “It’s spectacular to see a dynamic photograph that gives the impression that it’s a film scene,” says Saadallah. “I wish to achieve that point of view through my artistic vision.”

Saadallah’s photography takes the ordinary and turns it into a sight to marvel at, capturing his subjects in the middle of the action.

Mostafa Ahmed


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Mostafa Ahmed, whose work has been featured on the popular Instagram account Everyday Egypt, is the winner of the Cultures of Resistance Award (CoR). The award, which was launched in 2020, celebrates artists whose art champions positive change.

Ahmed uses a medley of techniques to document the essence of what it is to be Egyptian. From the candy floss street vendors on their bikes to the rundown buildings, and the men peacefully smoking their hookahs in the corner ahwa (café), his portrayal of the country is as entrancing as it is real.

Mona Hassan


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A graduate of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Alexandria University and an interior designer by trade, Mona Hassan started her journey with photography in 2016. What enthralled her most about street photography was the opportunity it granted to convey the pulse within the city’s streets. The artist has several awards to her name including the Annual International Photography Award (IPA), The Hamdan Bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum International Photography Award (HIPA) and the Tokyo International Foto Award (TIFA).

“Photography has been my way of bearing witness to the joy I find in seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary,” she explains to Egyptian Streets.

Fathi Hawas


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Fathi Hawas is a visual artist, teaching assistant and visual producer. When it comes to his photography, the artist manages to give his subjects an ethereal aura by visually blurring the lines between reality and dream. His work transforms unexceptional sights into works to be marvelled at, and grants viewers an Egypt as seen through his eyes.

Lamees Saleh


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Lamees Saleh is a Cairo-based documentary photographer whose work has dealt with themes of human truths. Having studied at the Danish School of Media and Journalism, the driver behind her work is the visual narration of social matters. The photographer was awarded the AFAC and the Prince Claus Fund in 2022. Much of the time, her photography not only expresses her own reflections but that of the human condition.

“I feel that street photography reveals how rich reality truly is,” elaborates Saleh. “And I believe in Robert Adams’s quote ‘no place is boring, if you’ve had a good night’s sleep and have a pocket full of unexposed film.’”

Ahmed Aasem Elsawy


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Ahmed Aasem Elsawy is an architect who practises street photography as a hobby. He describes his collection of photographs as a visual book for people to read through.

“I think every street has a different story. Every street, every lane, every house is full of faces and places that have a story to tell,” he recounts.

Through his lens, Elsawy captures the essence of a country brimming with history. From mosques, and forgotten doorways in old Cairo, to birds taking flight over the City of the Dead, the artist reproduces visuals that captivate their audience.

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