Today’s artist is a talented woman who has found herself on several occasions at the forefront of civilian protests documenting the events for media outlets as she witnesses them.
Asmaa Gamal captures intimate moments in Egyptian life and shares them with the world. Her pictures have been published in the Daily News Egypt, the Associated Press images websitee, Cairo Scene, Saudi backpakers to name just a few. Asmaa enters competitions to showcase her talent and draw attention on the work of photojournalist in her country. The Shawkan Photography Contest in December 2016 count among them. One of her photo reached the final stage in the photojournalism category. We discussed with her.
Can you introduce yourself to our readers?
I am Asmaa Gamal, an Egypt-based photojournalist. I have studied radio and television journalism at the Faculty of Arts – Helwan University (Mass Communication Department). Now, I am working on a master's degree in Egyptian Drama.
Beyond the pyramids, Egypt is also known in the world by the talent of its photojournalists. Do you ask for this heritage?
Egypt has many daily life stories deserve to be documented, and I am trying to track these stories and show them through my camera.
Where does your passion for photography come from? And why photojournalism?
I used to write stories, but after studying journalism, I found that one photo can express many details. Being a photojournalist was a challenge to me as I always seek to produce a perfect photo that reflects the real daily life in Egypt.
Are there some people who shaped your passion? Who are they?
My father earlier refused the idea of working as a photojournalist, but my passion defeated that. My mother brought me a small compact camera during the time of the 25th January revolution. My husband is also a photojournalist, who always supports me to enhance my skills.
How do you apprehend photojournalism in Egypt today, and tomorrow?
"There's a misunderstanding between me and the security forces in that you're supposed to help me" says the exasperated photojournalist. "I'm not doing something wrong. And the person who is afraid of being photographed is the one who feels like he's doing something wrong." There are myriad of obstacles to be faced when carrying around an actual piece of equipment. "When I take images with my phone, I feel free." The paranoia surrounding cameras in Egypt is a constant impediment to those trying to justly capture what goes on in the nation, a country where security are trained to shut down the photographing of anything they don't think their superiors will want captured for posterity, and subjects constantly fear the ramifications of being captured in an image.
Tell us a little bit about your portfolio, your greatest successes, and maybe failures.
My masterpiece is a book titled 'Seven Seeds', which talks about the baby shower (Soboou in Egyptian slang) and how the Egyptian people celebrate it.
What do you think about photography in Egypt?
Recently, photography has spread widely in Egypt, but I think many photographers still lack the culture of the main goal of this art.
What's cooking on your table?
Currently I am working on two projects; the first one is about how people deal with unmarried women whose ages are above 30, and the other one is about the 'Al Jaafra Tribe' in Upper Egypt.