Rooftop Families | '13


Brief: 'Sometimes I wonder if the true work of the photographer doesn't begin in the dark room, amid the trays and the enlarger.' (Scott, 1999) Defining the boundaries of photography requires a wide understanding of the different photographic processes and the various fields that relate to it. Some limit it to the photographers' observation and their quick reflex on the press of the release, and others expand it to the dark room and the post production process (Scott, 1999). With these views in mind, there is another aspect to consider: the photographer’s imprint on the photograph being taken.

Every photograph has an encoded message. And every observer decodes this message differently. John Berger notes in his writings that we, as observers, tend to be slightly aware of the photographer’s choice of sight from an infinite amount of other possible sights. (Berger, 1977) With the digital era that we are currently living in, the old crafts of photography are being replaced to match the new paradigm for self expression. Yet with this replacement, some things are altered and others are lost.

This project aims to revisit some of the analog processes with an attempt to put them along side with the digital techniques. Exploring photography as an expressive language, one that includes a wide vocabulary through which the storytelling side of a documentary could be pushed to further dimensions. Revolving around special residents in Cairo, this thesis questions the integration of different cameras and photographic techniques in telling a story. The story of three rooftop families sharing similar living conditions, yet different from other neighbouring residents, who I visit as an observer photographer.

With my cameras, I experiment with multiple photographic techniques, learning about my formerly-unknown neighbours and reflecting their lives through my lenses.


Place: Cairo, Egypt | Type: Reportage, Photography



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Wet Collodion Photographic Plates

  • Exposition on a rooftop in Heliopolis | 1/12

  • Exposition on a rooftop in Heliopolis | 2/12

  • Exposition on a rooftop in Heliopolis | 3/12

  • Exposition on a rooftop in Heliopolis | 4/12

  • Exposition on a rooftop in Heliopolis | 5/12

  • Exposition on a rooftop in Heliopolis | 6/12

  • Exposition on a rooftop in Heliopolis | 7/12

  • Exposition on a rooftop in Heliopolis | 8/12

  • Presentation at the German University in Cairo | 9/12

  • Presentation at the German University in Cairo | 10/12

  • Presentation at the German University in Cairo | 11/12

  • Presentation at the German University in Cairo | 12/12

Large Format Photographic Paper