The Washington Post

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


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.

Follow our live blog of Egypt in crisis.



Success! Check your inbox for details. You might also like:

Please enter a valid email address

See all newsletters

Show Comments

Sign up for email updates from the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

You have signed up for the "Confronting the Caliphate" series.

Thank you for signing up
You'll receive e-mail when new stories are published in this series.
Most Read



Success! Check your inbox for details.

See all newsletters

Your Three. Video curated for you.
Next Story
Max Fisher · July 2, 2013

To keep reading, please enter your email address.

You’ll also receive from The Washington Post:
  • A free 6-week digital subscription
  • Our daily newsletter in your inbox

Please enter a valid email address

I have read and agree to the Terms of Service and Privacy Policy.

Please indicate agreement.

Thank you.

Check your inbox. We’ve sent an email explaining how to set up an account and activate your free digital subscription.