The story behind an amazing sunset photo of Egypt’s protests


(PHOTO COURTESY OF ALAA EL BASHA)

A striking photo made the rounds on Monday, purportedly showing thousands of protesters demonstrating in the Egyptian coastal city of Alexandria while the sun sets behind them and a helicopter flies overhead.

The picture had no attribution or watermark, and it wasn’t even clear that it was from the recent protests. However, the imagery was so attention-grabbing that many decided to share it. We tracked down the photographer.

Meet Alaa El Basha. He says he took the photo of the crowds on the boardwalk at 6 p.m., Sunday, in the Shatby area of in Alexandria’s Sidi Gabir neighborhood. It’s not one photo, it’s actually three pictures, edited together for maximum visual effect. El Basha is a photography instructor at Alexandria University’s Faculty of Fine Arts.

The picture El Basha took first appeared on his photography club’s Facebook page. When he took the photo he said there was a sense of joy among protesters, “joy is in control of everyone,” joy because protesters felt supported by the military “and its permanent presence in atmosphere.”

El Basha says that he hopes his photography conveys his voice, his thoughts and his views. He feels a sense of urgency and thinks photography has an important role in capturing history that future generations will learn about.

“Photography is in all times of my life, whether work or rest,” writes El Basha.

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Max Fisher · July 2, 2013