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Egypt beyond the headlines

“Everyday Egypt” shows daily life in the country using instagram photos

Milad helps his bride Amal get out of her parents’ house before their engagement ceremony (Mohamed Ali Eddin)
Milad helps his bride Amal get out of her parents’ house before their engagement ceremony
(Mohamed Ali Eddin)

Milad helps his bride, Amal, step out of her parents’ house in Mansheyat Nasser. She smiles as she walks before their engagement party in a glittery dark red dress and white shoes that matches his shirt and suit.

The scene, captured by the photographer Mohamed Ali Eddin, is one of many scenes of everyday experiences Egyptians live. In an attempt to document these moments that are rarely seen in the news, a group of photographers launched a project, “Everyday Egypt,” an Instagram feed and Facebook group showcasing photos of daily life around the country.

Inspired by “Everyday Africa,” a project launched by photojournalist Peter DiCampo and writer Austin Miller to counter stereotypes spread about African countries, Tinne Van Loon, a Belgian-American freelance documentary photographer based in Cairo, launched “Everyday Egypt” to show an underrepresented side of Egypt to give “a greater context to headlines,” she said.

Van Loon reached out to the curator of “Everyday Middle East,” a project modelled off of “Everyday Africa,” asking to become a contributor. The curator instead suggested that Van Loon start “Everyday Egypt”.

It took her two weeks to contact photographers, who then seemed enthusiastic about the idea and decided to be volunteer contributors. The project was officially launched in June, on the same day President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi was inaugurated.

6-1 photo 2
A girl plays with a peigon
(Christina Rizk)

“All eyes were on Egypt that day,” Van Loon said. “But again eyes were on the political scene.”

The project “democratically” features photos taken by photojournalists, contemporary photographers and amateurs on mobile phones and professional cameras, she said.

Any Instagram user can post their photo and tag it “Everyday Egypt.” To give a chance for photographers who do not have wide networks, one of the project’s eighteen contributors, chooses one of the tagged photos to be featured on the project’s social media channels, she said. The project founder invites photographers with “powerful” Instagram feeds to become regular contributors.

“Instagram is a great platform for high quality photography,” she said. “Photo editors now follow photographers on Instagram to see their work and how they think.”

Photos from “Everyday Egypt” will be exhibited among photos from other “Everyday” projects at Photoville photography festival in New York in September.

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