Cairo Photo Marathon

Cairo’s first photo marathon was also the first photo marathon in whole the Middle East, and it took place on January 15, 2011. My photographs won the grand prize of the event (12 hour run, taken with an iPhone 3) and the subsequent exhibition opened on May 3 at CiC Contemporary Image Collective in Downtown Cairo. 

The concept behind the photo marathon as such is originally a Danish idea; the first edition took place in Copenhagen in 1989. The Danish Egyptian Dialogue Institute (DEDI) and International Media Support (IMS) collaborated with a number of local Egyptian cultural institutions in organizing this pilot event that ran for two simultaneous phases of 6 and 12 hours, challenging photo enthusiasts, amateurs and professionals to interpret a set of playful and idiomatic themes surrounding issues of gender in the city, composed by writer, storyteller and comedian Motaz Attala. The event was initiated by Muna Bur and coordinated by Bur and Osama Dawod.

The competition took place again in 2012, 2013 and 2015. Its scope expanded under the name Egypt Photo Marathon and reached the cities of Alexandria, Aswan, Port Said, Minya, Assiut, Mansoura, Sohag, and Hurghada. In 2018, the Tri-City Photo Marathon took place simultaneously in Cairo, Copenhagen, and Ramallah.

These are the winning images and their corresponding themes:

Divorce me! Divorce me! Divorce me!
The imagined, insistent demand of a disgruntled wife. Take from a popular, classic film.
Your hand!
Typically spoken as a warning to someone doing with their hand something they shouldn’t be doing.
Just like honey
An idiomatic way of describing something or someone as sweet or cute
The name of a popular Egyptian film with strong, women-related themes.
Evening of jasmines
A leisurely greeting that connotes Epicurean indulgence
Drying laundry, do the wash, there’s none like me.
The jingle from an old advertisement for Rabso detergent
O slipper of bliss, I wish to be thee.
A rhyming cat-call that might be said to a beautiful woman wearing slippers, in which the caller states his desire to be the very slipper holding such feet.
Ahmed! Mona!
Taken from a famous scene in a film in which the lovers Ahmed and Mona shout one another’s names as they rush to embrace.
That’s all you’re good for; always off to see your other wife.
Do you see the moon, oh you who are moon-like? No, do you see the Nile, oh you who are Nile-like?
A courting gesture that is met with a disparaging put-down. To be Nile-like is to be of darkness and misery.
Me, I die… (for)
A cat-call in which the lover (states that he would) die for the affection of his beloved. The phrase is truncated, emphasizing the severity of the desire.