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Yasser Alwan


Traces, Fragments, Scraps: Collecting Cairo’s Discarded Images

[The author's mother and aunt, Beirut, 1954. Courtesy Yasser Alwan.]

[In this two-part essay we present a selection of captivating photographs from roughly the first half of the 20th century in Egypt, collected by Yasser Alwan and held by the photography center Akkasah at NYUAD. The essays by Akkasah director Shamoon Zamir and Alwan provide valuable context and insights into how to understand this particular collection. The first selection of photographs, with Zamir's essay, highlights the collection's poignant snapshot photographs, while the ...

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“The awakening of a radical reality”? Reflections on PhotoCairo 5

[From A Monument of Buzzwords, 2012, by Samir El-Kordy.]

(PhotoCairo 5 was held between 14 November and 17 December 2012. It was organized by the Contemporary Image Collective in Cairo and curated by Mia Jankowicz.) PhotoCairo 5 was not photography and not Cairo. It was a mélange of video, conceptual art, installations, and photographic productions by local and international artists that generally required knowledge of the English language and international art practices and theories to be comprehensible. Indeed, this would have ...

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Imagining Tahrir

[Tamer, mason from Beheira province. Tahrir Square. Photo by Yasser Alwan.]

I. Egyptians saw themselves for the first time through their own eyes in Cairo’s Tahrir Square in January and February 2011, and reveled in that encounter. Participating in and recording that experience was to become part of the consciousness of a community that was ready to move heaven and earth to restructure Egyptian society for the better. The consciousness was individual in that it established one person’s experience among the crowd, it was moral because recording ...

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Yasser Alwan


Yasser Alwan is a photographer who has lived in Cairo for 25 years. His work delves into the intersection between documentary, art, and portraiture. He has written Imagining Egypt and Mirrors or Windows: How to Decipher a Photograph (in Arabic) and has exhibited his work throughout the region, in Europe and the US.