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This Photographer Traveled Across Egypt to Create Insane Light Paintings

Ahmed Zaher has been creating Egyptian stories using torches, a camera, and his imagination.

Although the photographic technique known as light painting has been around in some form or another since the 1880s, few photographers still impress us with it and add something new to the table. Ahmed Zaher is one such photographer, as his use of the technique is no longer just about experimentation, but at this point actually painting a picture with a story and a narrative. And using the night sky as a canvass for his creations, Egypt in all its glory often seems to be the protagonist in Zaher’s stories.

"Roadship" Qena Dessert Road

Whipping his long dreadlocks back away from his face as he talks to Cairo Scene, Zaher says “I first focus on taking a beautiful picture, so I compose the shot accordingly. When I’m satisfied with the composition, I set the camera’s exposure to 30 seconds and then get to painting my story”. He says at times he’s had to resort to using his entire body for the painting, strapping a light source to different parts of it. He adds, “to an onlooker, I may look like an insane person or an airport worker marshalling aircrafts as I wave my arms around”.

"Fuzzy Milky Way" Blue Lagoon South Sinai

The combination of the natural and the artificial is one Zaher finds fascinating. As he makes his way through Egypt’s deserts and beaches, often travelling in a minivan that’s also become a heroine in many of his stories, he stops to create his little light creatures against the backdrop of the stars.

His travels have seen him visit some of Egypt’s most secluded corners. Places most of us have only read about, let alone basked their starlight, camping and painting while his camera shutter captures it all.  As for the future, Zaher hopes to explore even more open road. In Egypt and around the world. Telling the stories of his locations and the light creatures that lurk in their darkness.


"Fearlessness" South Sinai Dessert

"Travelling is Unstoppable" Halayeb and Shalateen

"Fuzzy Milky Way" Blue Lagoon, South Sinai

Camel Road, Halayeb and Shalateen

Follow Ahmed Zaher's work here.


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Shubbak El Fann @ Goethe-Institut Kairo
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