2020 Iris Awards – Travel Category

Travel Photography Cairo

Faces of Cairo is a collection of photographs that take you on a tour of the land and its people; the streets, the markets, the African desert, and the path of history.

Cairo is chaos at its most magnificent, infuriating and beautiful. From above, the distorted roar of the muezzins’ call to prayer echoes out from duelling minarets. Below, car horns bellow tuneless symphonies amid avenues of faded 19th-century grandeur, while donkey carts rattle down dusty lanes lined with colossal monuments. This city’s constant buzz is a product of its 30 million inhabitants, simultaneously stretching Cairo’s infrastructure, crushing it under their collective weight. The smog is heavy and car toots are overwhelming, but its energy is stimulating and exhilarating!

In January 2020, I was lucky to visit the ancient city and tell the story of its people. What stood out to me the most was how friendly the people were. I first shook their hands warmly and then asked in Arabic: “Can I take your photo?” I gave people my full attention and most were delighted to have their portrait taken, especially once they learnt that I came from Israel and that I live in New Zealand. I showed them the image on the back of my camera which made them feel respected. I consider it my privilege to be able to share these glimpses into their lives with the wider world.

I wanted to visit Cairo for a long time and was so glad when the opportunity came. I always admired the long and rich history of Egypt and found the experience of modern-day Cairo to be incredible in its own right. The whole city buzzes with all kinds of different people, and despite many of them being poor, they have a wonderful faith in Allah.

My visit to Egypt was a spiritual journey, I always dreamt of visiting Egypt. The historical link between Israel and Egypt goes back thousands of years: a history of war and peace. In reading the Haggadah during Passover Seder every year, I celebrate the ancient history together with the family. The Haggadah describes the exodus of the Israelite slaves who built the pyramids in Egypt. The most interesting part is the ten plagues that God inflicted on the Egyptian people in order to convince Pharaoh to free the Twelve Tribes.

Faces of Cairo is a documentary collection. Most of the photos had little or no retouching. I asked people to look straight into my camera, so these are not candid photos. The strength of this series is in giving viewers a rare opportunity to connect with the common Egyptian people in their natural environment. This diverse group of people serves as a timely reminder that, despite our many cultural differences, we can unite as a community through the power of photography. The collection is a celebration of our shared values: hard work, the importance of family and caring for each other as humans. I hope that through this portfolio viewers learn more about the Egyptian people. In sharing this portfolio I encourage viewers to show empathy: to accept others and to recognise the value of cultural diversity. We would all experience an enhanced sense of community if we took the time to appreciate interactions which allow us to discover the world beyond our familiar boundaries. We are all wonderfully unique, yet, at the same time, we are deeply similar.

I present these photographs in timeless monochrome, to ensure consistency and flow of the series amidst the chaos and clutter of the busy environment. My aim is to create an authentic portfolio of diverse individuals in a foreign land, to tell their stories using a clear narrative style and enduring quality. The portraits are crisp and sharp, to allow the details to inspire your imagination and to evoke emotions. I hope that viewers will experience the atmosphere and connect with the people.

Photography Sessions at UXBRIDGE Arts

Photography Sessions

Four photography sessions are offered by UXBRIDGE ARTS & CULTURE

Improve your photography – Photo Critique: Saturday 20 June 10:30AM – 11:30AM
This workshop will explore your own digital images. Please email 2 or 3 of your own images to programmes@uxbridge.org.nz (2-5 MB). As a group we will look anonymously at each photo and Ilan will critique them from different angles, looking at where improvement could be made.

Improve your photography – Technique: Saturday 20 June 12:00PM – 1:00PM
This workshop will focus on light, setting and poses to maximise your portrait photography. Ilan will show some of his portrait collection of New Zealanders who are humble, courageous and vulnerable. Ilan will use these to share techniques on how to emphasize and observe shape and form to create edgy images that tell a story to the viewer.

Faces of Cairo: Wednesday 24 June, 6:30PM – 7:15PM
In this session you will view and enjoy time to question some images from  documentary series ‘Faces of Cairo’ –  a tour of the land and it’s people; the streets, the markets the African desert and the path of history. Learn the art of telling a story with a clear narrative style using the lens.

Scapes: Wednesday 24 June, 7:30PM – 8:15PM
Scapes is a series of wide-format prints, exploring the timeless nature of unique locations using sepia tone, which emulates analogue lithographic techniques. This distinct and compelling monochromatic style creates strong images which inspire the imagination and provoke conscious consideration. Discussions on the ‘how’ and ‘why’ are encouraged in this session.

Click here to book your free session

Photographic Exhibition

 

The Jetty

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The Jetty

 

We spent the night at the bottom of Ross Creek Reservoir. This is one of the oldest artificial lakes in the country, and the oldest water supply reservoir still in use in the country. It was created in the 1860s to provide water for the city of Dunedin, at that time in the middle of its rapid expansion due to the Otago goldrush. I love the leading lines and the shades of green against the dramatic clouds at sunrise.