Osama Esid

& the workers of Cairo

In the background of each portrait there is a linen decorated with an orientalist looking palm-tree. Although, at first glance, the colors and the setting seem to indicate that those pictures date back to the early twentieth century, all of the series was shot outside, on Cairo streets, in 2007.

Osama Esid, born in Damascus in 1970, betrays his addiction to nostalgia by using a formerly widespread photography trick: painting black and white clichés in colored oils. Currently living between Minneapolis and Cairo, the Syrian photographer questions the stereotypes inherent to Westerners towards the “Orient” by immortalizing a crowd usually left out by visual arts in a stereotypical manner. A pioneer in street photography in Egypt, Esid also makes a social statement which, despite the quaint décor, has never been so contemporary.

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