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Humans of New York photoblog turns lens to Egypt Open in fullscreen

Shams Al-Shakarchi

Humans of New York photoblog turns lens to Egypt

A cross-section of Egypt's residents feature on the Humans of New York photoblog [Facebook]

Date of publication: 16 September, 2018

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Among children's cheeky grins and uplifting family tales are stories of unpursued dreams and heartbreaking poverty.
Humans of New York, a hugely popular photography blog collecting street portraits and interviews from across the globe, has turned its lens to Egypt.

Since beginning in New York eight years ago, photographer Brandon Stanton has travelled to nearly 20 different countries including Bangladesh, Iran, Iraq, and Pakistan, often documenting profound stories of triumph over adversity - and sometimes just fashionable kids in cool outfits.

This September he took his camera to the streets of Egypt, capturing Cairo and Alexandria through the stories of their residents.

The series has so far featured uplifting tales of family life and cheeky grins from Egyptian children playing in the street.

But sombre tales reflecting Egypt's entrenched patriarchy and heartbreaking poverty have also been shared.

In one post, a woman who dreams of studying abroad and working for NASA, said her father doesn't give her the "freedom to be responsible". "He just doesn't trust people," she said. "He thinks that I'm naïve. He thinks that everyone who helps you wants something in return."

Meanwhile another woman who married straight after finishing school a man who initially refused to let her study, said the day she received her diploma was the "happiest day of my life".

Commenting below the post, Stanton acknowledged he picked the stories deliberately. "I normally try to choose people as randomly as possible, but it can sometimes be challenging as a male to interview women in the Middle East... The stories from Egypt therefore have a bias toward strong and confident women - and I don't mind that at all."

In one post, a young boy with tears in his eyes tells the photographer his mum is in prison and the few relatives he has don't look after him. "I sleep on the street. I can't go to school. I just hang out with the older kids," he said.

Stanton explains that during the conversation a group of older teenagers were calling for the boy to join them. "They were clearly on drugs," Stanton wrote. "My interpreter and I tried to get him to stay and join us for a meal, but he refused and ran after the other kids. Only giving this context because I know many of you would like to help. Unfortunately we were never given the opportunity."

Here are a selection of posts from Humans of New York in Egypt: 






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