thecairodiary

Portrait of 26 Year old Sudanese Refugee. Fleeing Sudan after the government murdered her husband and 4 children 1 year ago. Aged 6, 4 (twins) and 2. 

I woke up in my mixed dorm Hostel room in Cairo one morning and she was asleep. When she woke up i can’t describe the feeling that overcame me. Is this ok? This lady is in a room with a man, me. Is that normal? Was she put in the wrong dorm by accident? Do i talk to her? or Do i just pretend she isn’t there? I wanted to pretend she wasn’t there, just because i thought it would be easier, and maybe she would have preferred if i didn’t make her feel uncomfortable. But her eyes looked friendly and i couldn’t help but say “Salam Alekum” - and i was instantly welcomed into her world. We chatted about breakfast and Sudan. Using the translater on my smartphone, we managed to exchange enough information to feel comfortable around each other. The whole time i kept thinking i needed to get a picture of her, sitting there on the Hostel bunk bed. But would this just ruin everything? I didn’t feel like offending her, and a man taking a picture of a muslim sudanese woman after only knowing each other for less than an hour seemed completely unlikely to be honest.  

I asked her if it’s ok if i take a picture and i show her the translation. She says ‘ok’. I take a few photos and thank her very much. She asks me “how can i come to australia?”. What do you say to that?. She was off to the UNHCR - Middle East & Africa the next day to start her future in a refugee program somewhere. I wished her all the best and gave her an Australian Dollar with Kangaroo’s on it. I hope she gets to Australia one day. 

...on things

…i recently got a little point and shoot film camera. it’s manual focus and has an inbuilt flash. From the beginning, this was always my creative vision for the sketchpad of experiences, feelings, and visual curiosities - raw and simple, which i’ve pathetically called ‘the cairo diary’, mainly after inspiration from Hunter S Thompson’s book 'The Rum Dairy’ which is a autobigrapical/fictional story of his experiences whilst working as a journalist for The Daily News in San Juan, Puerto Rico in his early twenties. An intricate look into excess, freedom and meaning of life, it’s one of my favourite books. I suppose this is some sort of visual attempt to make sense of a very similar time and experiences. I quit my job in Sydney, Australia and started working as a freelance photojournalist in Cairo at a time when everyone is leaving. The people are confused, i’m confused. I shoot medium format and point and shoot film and digital and each one has it’s role in my adaptation to this period of time in a place where nothing is certain…i’m finding that this 'project’ is going to take longer than i first thought. I sold my car back home to fund a longer stay here. 120 film won’t be developed until i get back home, whenever that is. The lab where i’ve been taking my film to puts a scratch on the negatives in the same place. I used to work in a lab back home and it’s probably because of a lack of maintenance that a part has worn out or there’s a piece of dirt that hasn’t been moved. But i like it. It’s part of the experience. The files are so low res that it’s almost impossible to manipulate in photoshop because the scanner is probably from the early 90’s. I just hand the rolls over and get them back on a disc which i upload here. It’s raw and simple, exactly how things are done in egypt.