I lived in Cairo for nine months in 1989-90, where I attended the American University of Cairo, just off Tahrir Square. I remember watching the amazing popular protests against corrupt leaders in Eastern Europe at that time and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Now I am mesmerized and inspired as Egyptians bravely rise up against the 30-year repressive regime of President Hosni Mubarak.
Although the government pulled the plug on the Internet in Egypt on January 27th, there are photos of the current protests and gatherings online and not just from the major news organizations. I'm sure there will be many more later -- I'm anxious to see what my friends and aquaintances have to share when they come back online.
Here are some different sources of photographs that I am finding illuminating. I'm not compiling anything comprehensive, just a selection that I will update as I find more unique sources.
My goal is to show you some of the creativity, civic-mindedness, sense of community and solidarity amongst the very broad range of Egyptians involved. I'm avoiding the usual dramatic conflict shots you can get from the big media sources, and the overly romantic, iconic ones too.
Personally, I'm much more interested in the on-the-ground texture and feel of these events, the moments in between the dramatic images, the way ordinary people are making their voices heard.
"A protester carrying a banner: 'Leave you thief! Mubarak should be tried in front of an international court.'" (Hossam el-Hamalawy)
Hossam el-Hamalawy - Hossam is an Egyptian journalist and photographer, whose photos of labor organizing and protests I used for the Solidarity Center's publication "The Struggle for Worker Rights in Egypt," written by Joel Beinin. (Read this piece, Egypt at the Tipping Point?, by Beinin that puts the current uprising in historical context and explains the importance of a decade of labor protest movement organizing in preparing the way for today's events.) You can also read a January 27th interview with Hossam on Al Jazeera English.
January 29 or 30, Tahrir Square (Timothy Kaldas)
Timothy Kaldas - I especially like this one of protesters picking up trash -- pointing out the real civic pride and sense of community that seems to be a hallmark of the gatherings. He also took a great series of photos of protesters on February 6th reading newspapers in Tahrir.
February 4, "Day of Departure," in Tahrir Square, reading the news (Camilo Gomez-Rivas)
Camilo Gomez-Rivas (a Middle East history professor at AUC) has been in Tahrir Square taking photos of the many different kinds of people who are engaged in the protests. He has so far posted photos from February 4th here on his Flikr page. Here are his photos of the February 1st March of a Million, and from January 30 and 31st.
Protesters in Tahrir Square on February 6, 2011. (Matthew Cassel)
Matthew Cassel (a Beirut-based photographer represented by Polaris, who also writes for Electronic Intifada) is posting photos on his blog too. There are strong portraits, moments of quiet determination, and images of people making their voices heard in different ways.
Greeting people as they enter Tahrir Square after passing through security, February 6. (Mohamed Elshahed)
Mohamed Elshahed has also been photographing inside the square. You can see his photos on Facebook, in an album titled "People vs State." They capture the really wide range of people and the creativity, passion and joyfulness of many. Most of his photos are visually stronger than the one above, however I like this one for the sense of unity and support it conveys.
Ed Ou - A young freelancer who just arrived in Cairo, who says he is concerned to shoot not just hard news but also people living life through this momentous time. I like the top shot because it shows the protestors themselves taking photos with their phones. And something I haven't seen before -- women in Zamalek participating in a neighborhood watch.
Leil-Zahra Mortada is compiling photos of women protestors on this Facebook page. She is not the photographer and while I don't generally like using photos without crediting the photographer, I think in a case like this, where the regime is using repressive tactics to limit communication, it is acceptable.