Friday, August 14, 2009

Colorful Tora

Back in Cairo in July, I worked with correspondent Jeffrey Fleishman on a slice-of-life feature for the Los Angeles Times about Cairo's Tora neighborhood. Read the story and see more photos here. (I did not shoot the video.) It was nice to work on a relatively relaxing story. Even though shooting in Egypt can be a headache, this time, refreshingly, I had few problems.

Above, Ramadan Hassan's family hangs out on the front stoop of their home in Tora neighborhood. The family had a mural painted on the wall to celebrate Um Muhammad's (third from left) homecoming from the Hajj, the Muslim pilgrimage to the holy cities of Mecca and Medina in Saudi Arabia. The family survives selling fish they catch from the Nile, which is just a few streets away, and running a clothing store south of Cairo.

Tora is one of Cairo's funky little neighborhoods. It's pretty sleepy until late afternoon, when the heat of the day subsides and people become more active.

Gamal Sayed Ibrahim in his shop, where he sells odds and ends and makes copies on Tora's main square.

Ahmed Morsy's grandfather was the neighborhood tailor before Ahmed took over and turned the family business into an ironing shop. Business has slowed down and Ahmed is struggling to provide for his wife and two children.

Ibrahim Ahmed Hassan, 20, hangs out with a friend in the pool hall, Abu Donia. Hassan is in his third year studying business at a local university and is setting his sights on a life outside of Tora, maybe even outside of Egypt.

Saber Saad sings the azan, the Muslim call to prayer, at Tora's small mosque. Before retiring last year, Saad worked in a munitions factory and was a wedding singer on the side.

Now that he's retired, Saber Saad spends most of his time with his 20 pairs of pigeons that he keeps in his rooftop aviary. He has been training pigeons for 25 years and finds it relaxing. Like most people in the neighborhood, Saad's family has been living in the same house for generations.

One of Saber's pigeons has nice wallpaper.