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Laura El-Tantawy

Photographer & Self Publisher | My visual diary of spontaneous photographic encounters & reflections as I find my way home.

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FROM MY ARCHIVE 🌟 Warm Rain, from “Beyond Here Is Nothing”, my series meditating on home and belonging. #SentimentalTuesday #LauraElTantawyArchive #LookingBack

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I stood in my kitchen window today. In the distance loomed some clouds. I remembered someone. I sent my memories into the clouds and watched them float away. I recalled a holiday we took together. In all my years of travel I’ve been fortunate to never lose anything. On this trip I lost my phone. I was upset, desperate to find it. I looked at Find My iPhone a few times a day, sent messages in English and Spanish hoping someone would reach back. He tried to help me. I told him maybe losing my phone was a sign. “Why would losing a piece of plastic be a bad sign for us?” He was right but I couldn’t help how my mind rendered it. Half the photos of our special trip were on my phone. I took pictures of him; with his phone, he took ones of me. Having one side of the story isn’t a full story. I wasn’t sad about the phone. I have phone insurance. But the pictures? There was no insurance for them. Watching the clouds go by I realized for the first time that I photograph out of a need to hold on. Growing up in one place while constantly shifting between others has created a recurring sense of transition, a longing for the afar off — memories of people, food, places, even a breeze. It’s something I carry inside me. Like an unborn child clinging on. I’m surprised at how this sentimental me came to be. I read we can change our story. Reassess our past so we can actively influence our future. An empowering idea. Would I still be a photographer? I thought about friends whose work I admire and whose histories I know some aspects of. I found a critical moment in their life created a shift. All of us have histories, but this idea of holding on seemed to resonate in their stories. Maybe I’m reading too much into what others do. We let go of what we don’t want to hold onto — people, food, places, even a breeze. A photograph of the present becomes a picture of a memory. I tried to Google it: “photography and the idea of holding on”. Photos of couples holding hands brought me full circle to where this thought came to be in the first instance. I don’t know if photography is a liberating way forward or a confining force backwards. ==> L💗 at London, United Kingdom

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📷 ⏳COMING UP⏳ 📷 ==> It’s Personal, A one-day intensive laboratory with Laura El-Tantawy exploring images as a means of communicating the private and unspoken. Who can apply: Anyone engaged with visuals as a medium of expression – artistic, journalistic or anything else. This opportunity is not exclusive to still photographers. Location: Tipi Bookshop Rue de l'Hôtel des Monnaies 186, 1060 Saint-Gilles, Belgium https://tipi-bookshop.be Date: Sunday October 7, 2018 Price: 250 euro/person Limited to 10 participants only. One participant will be selected to attend for free based on their pitch. To apply, pls send the following by September 21st, 2018 to [email protected] * one paragraph proposal for a project you are working on & wish to take as a focus during the workshop * Maximum of 10 supporting visuals * Your bio Accepted applicants will be notified by September 27th. at Tipi Bookshop

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FROM MY ARCHIVE 🌟 Crowd in Red, early London work from the series “Four Seasons in One Day”. I made this image when I first moved to London in 2007. My camera was a great excuse to explore what was then a new and somewhat intimidating city for me. It’s easy to feel small in London sometimes, especially as a new arrival. After 11 years I can say London has been an incredible and enriching place to live - to plant some seeds and see how they grow. Even with all the rain, I feel like my tree isn’t growing the deep roots I was hoping for. I think it’s time to plant my seeds elsewhere and see how they grow. ❤️ #SentimentalTuesday #LauraElTantawyArchive #LookingBack at Bethnal Green Road

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Memorable moments from what is now my favorite photo festival in Europe. Thank you for having me and for all the new friends and shared ❤️ @breda_photo #toinfinityandbeyond photos by @sama_alshaibi @msomji at Breda

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FROM MY ARCHIVE 🌟 In the Shadow of the Pyramids | self published in 2015 in edition of 500 | Photography & texts: Laura El-Tantawy | Design & book concept: -SYB- | Lithography Colour & Books | ISBN: 978-90-821066-1-9 My work in Egypt began before I understood its complexity. It was in mid-2005, a few months after my maternal grandmother unexpectedly passed away. Her death struck chaos in my family’s otherwise structured existence. Death is the ultimate disorder. It leaves vast holes that others have to compensate for. I witnessed the pillars of ‘family’ and ‘home’, as I knew them, destruct around me. I turned to the streets of Cairo to escape the darkness of death. I wanted to connect to a people of whom I am one, but among whom I felt like a stranger. The byproduct of being a loyal child of the east who became an adult influenced by the west after studying and working in the US for nearly 10 years. It was a fragile moment in my life and this fragility stayed with me. The parallel narrative of my own search for identity and the larger story of what became an entire country’s struggle for identity was serendipitous. I found Egypt to be a place of vast contradictions. Life prevails in the form of crowds and sounds that never cease. They exist amid a palpable tension, a hefty weight people are carrying on their shoulders. I found it to be a place where wrongdoings abound – corruption, humiliation. Injustices that made rights of wrong and wrongs of right. A place where people are struggling every day for dignity. I found reflections of myself in the chaos around me. I was photographing myself as much as I was photographing my country. In the Shadow of the Pyramids is a first-person account exploring memory and identity. With images spanning 2005 to 2014, what began as a look in the mirror to understand the essence of Egyptian identity expanded into an exploration of the trials and tribulations of a troubled nation. The result is dark, sentimental and passionate. Juxtaposing the innocence of my past with the obscurity of the present. #selfpublishing #bookart #lookingback #lastonebeforeigo #sentimentalTuesday #lauraeltantawyarchive at Cairo, Egypt

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FROM MY ARCHIVE 🌟 Lonely Dancer, from “Public Life”, my series exploring London’s night scene. I photographed in a former public toilet that was converted to an underground night club. I began this series when I lived in Shoreditch. It was a way for me to discover my neighborhood and meet people I would otherwise not meet. Night encounters are unlike those under the sun. Creatures of the dark are curious. Lit by the fire inside and fueled by the seductions outside. A mirror with two faces - real and surreal. #LauraElTantawyArchive #lookingback #sentimentalTuesday at London, United Kingdom

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A Meeting with the Sea ... Around Dusk - North Coast, Egypt 27/8/2018 🌊 at North-coast

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Rainbow Sunset by the Sea - North Coast, Egypt 26/8/2018 🌊 at North-coast

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#sneakpeek I’ll Die For You: Palestinian Territories. This is an image from my latest chapter in an eight-year journey exploring the intimate relationship between man and land. It will be on show during BredaPhoto Festival in the Netherlands from September 5 to October 21, 2018. Thanks to @breda_photo @msomji for believing in my vision and supporting this work. Thanks to @raneen.sawafta for her extremely hard work, support on the ground and giving me a home away from home. #illdieforyou #identity #existence

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Roads Carved in Dust Tracks - Cairo, Egypt 23/8/2018 #manyroadstotake at جمعية احمد عرابى - عرابى لاند

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FROM MY ARCHIVE 🌟 Crowd in Prayer, from “Fervent Spirits”, a series exploring faith & spirituality. A timely #lookback on the occasion of Eid today. May the world be ruled by love, kindness, forgiveness and empathy. #LauraElTantawyArchive #lookingback #sentimentalTuesday 🕊 at Jama Masjid

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Palm Trees Floating at Sunset ... Kitchen Window View - Cairo, Egypt 18/8/2018 🌴 at جمعية احمد عرابى - عرابى لاند

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Reinterpreted Sunset - North Coast, Egypt 16/8/2018 at North coast

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The Sea & it’s Beautiful Drama ... Around Dusk - North Coast, Egypt 15/8/2018 🌊 at North-coast

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FROM MY ARCHIVE 🌟 An Immortal River no. 2, from “I’ll Die For You”, my ongoing series exploring the intimate relationship between man & land. Inspired by my paternal grandfather Hussein, a farmer who owned a plot of land in the small village of Meit El-Kholy Abduallah in Egypt's Nile Delta. It's where he spent his entire life digging, sweating, planting, nurturing and eventually dying to make a living for his family. #LauraElTantawyArchive #lookingback #sentimentalTuesday at نهر النيل العظيم

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Skies on Fire .. A Sunset Drive - Cairo, Egypt 13/8/2018 at Nasr City مدينة نصر

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The River Nile by Night .. A Painting with Light & Water - Cairo, Egypt 12/8/2018 at Garden City, Cairo

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