I cover general news, feature stories and, best of all, sport.
I studied photography and cinema at the College of Applied Arts in Cairo and I remember starting out with a Minolta Camera with a 50mm lens that I had got from my father. I began thinking that it would be good to be photographer: I wanted my job to be about stopping and recording moments in time.
I remember the first picture I took that my teacher thought was really good. It was just a portrait but the lighting was nice and the focus was really strong. I didn’t get on that well with the teacher during college, but after I graduated and started to get better known he reached out to me and we became friends.
Back in 2005 I worked for 8 months as a cameraman for Egyptian TV. My father dreamed of me working in television, but I sat him down and explained to him that my dream was to be a photographer. I started shooting for Reuters as a freelancer in 2006, and the first picture I took that was sent out to clients was one of Britain’s Prince Charles and his wife Camilla in Cairo.
Covering the Haj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia in 2012 left a big impression on me. I had long wanted to do the Haj, and when I got back home again I got lots of praise from photographer friends for showing a different view of it.
When I’m taking pictures I forget everything else and feel like I’m in a dream with my camera. All I want is to create a good, strong picture and to forget any fear I might have of the situation.
During the 2011 Egyptian Revolution I was really astounded by what was happening in Cairo and the way that the protesters were chanting against the regime. I hadn’t expected it to happen at all. At first I was so amazed I didn’t take that many pictures, but then I started to shoot more and it became an important lesson for me to separate my feelings from my assignments.
I really respect Reuters photographer Goran Tomasevic. He’s a very good friend – just like a brother – and he has taught me a great deal professionally. The style of my work is partly modelled after his.