Laura El-Tantawy

In the Shadow of the Pyramids

15 September – 1 October


‘In the Shadow of the Pyramids’ tells the story of the deep socio-political changes between 2005 and 2014 in Egypt. It documents the revolution and its emotional toll and impact on people’s lives. The series was self published as a book in 2015 and a new edition was released in 2021 to mark the 10-year anniversary of the revolution, which started in 2011. ‘In the Shadow of the Pyramids’ was shortlisted for the prestigious Deutsche Börse Photography Foundation Prize in 2016, awarded annually to a photographer who made the most significant contribution to the photographic medium in Europe during the past year.

Laura El-Tantawy started her career as a newspaper photographer in the United States. She turned freelance in 2005, moving to Cairo to document her home, a work that took on a heightened sense of urgency once the revolution took hold from 2011. Living between East and West for much of her life inspires her work, which contemplates notions of home and belonging through exploring social and environmental issues pertinent to her background. El-Tantawy is the first Egyptian to be awarded the prestigious W. Eugene Smith Memorial Fund award, which she received in 2020 for her new project, ‘I’ll Die for you’. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, Afar, Le Monde, Wall Street Journal, National Geographic, Time, New York Times, Huck & Foam.

Selected Works

From the series In the Shadow of the Pyramids (2005-14).

In the Shadow of the Pyramids: A film by Laura El-Tantawy

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 turbulent nation. The result is dark, sentimental and passionate. Juxtaposing the innocence of the past with the obscurity of the present. This is an experience, edited to look like a one night’s encounter. A peaceful and tranquil day suddenly turns violent and chaotic, it’s claustrophobic, until a new dawn rises and there is hope again.

All content copyright 2021 © Laura El-Tantawy





Film Screening & Conversation with Laura El Tantawy