“I like the Egyptian countryside and I belong to the Egyptian society, so I always like to portray that society beautifully in my pictures.”
Fadel Dawod is a Cairo-based Egyptian photojournalist whose work has been published in The New York Times, CNN, The Washington Post, National Geographic, among others. He recently traveled to Al-Fayoum to cover the cotton crop harvest collection at the end of summer. Although this is not the first time he features crop harvests in his photography, this one was special because of those working in the field.
“I read that Al-Fayoum’s cotton crop is mainly collected by children, and that is why I decided to go there. All the children there collect the cotton crop and sometimes take two weeks off from school at the time of harvest,” says Dawod.
Dawod traveled around and visited more than ten places in Al-Fayoum to find the best location to capture these shots until he found this field in ‘Ezbet Rahim in Etsa.
“I like stories that relate to people and society. I like to feel like I belong to the people,” he explains.
“To take one picture in the evening, for example, I can go from dawn. I go there, spend time with the people, eat and drink with them, until I feel like I’m part of their community. That is when they would open their hearts while conversing with me, and so the picture would be associated with the emotions communicated with me in our conversations,” Dawod says, highlighting that it’s the story and the emotions behind it that matter the most to him.
Upon his visit, Dawod noticed that cotton crop collection is like a tradition for the children of that village.
“Most of the children are happy doing this work, and following what their parents and grandparents have been doing for years. They all wake up by dawn and head to the fields to collect the cotton crop. There were a few who seemed unhappy or forced to do it though. I was trying to take my pictures quickly so the children would not get into trouble especially because there is a lot of pressure on them,” he adds.
This was Dawod’s first time holding the camera after a two-month hiatus due to joining the army. “I don’t have a favourite here; this entire album holds a special place in my heart,” concludes Dawod.
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