Tuesday, 29 November 2011

POV: Moises Saman And Cairo Undone

Photo © Moises Saman-All Rights Reserved  
How wrong I was! I always dismissed the idea of photographing street life in Cairo by saying that there was nothing to photograph there...not much color, no vibrancy....but that began to change after the January Revolution. Was it a subconscious rejection of the then-prevailing environment? Or simply because I was blase about photographing in my own backyard...albeit one that I left for more than 30 years? Was it both? Perhaps.

That admission being made, I have to clarify that I speak only of street life rather than particular cultural subject matters, such as documenting Sufi rituals such as those I photographed a few years ago.

What changed my mind is the brilliant photo essay in The New York Times titled Cairo Undone by Moises Saman.  The photo essay (it's really a gallery as there's no storyline nor timeline) is of snapshots (I use this term very respectfully) of daily life in Cairo...the gritty, the edgy, the incomprehensible, the political and the anachronisms that dominate this teeming city.

I intended to post this as soon as I saw the photographs, but I was in Siem Reap and just couldn't find the time. I have viewed and re-viewed this work many times, and it revived in me a hunger to document facets of this city. Is it a nostalgic yearning? I doubt it...I don't think that way. It's similar to my documenting the Sufi rituals in various countries...that is nothing more than an intellectual and aesthetic pursuit.

It's the same for Cairo...nothing more nothing less. But time will tell.