Impromptu photographs are rarely impressive. Usually, they unite the three main factors of a bad photo: an inexperienced photographer, a low quality camera and horrid lighting.
This is not to mention the red eyes or the awkward poses that are saved for posterity by an overeager photographer. Enter Berwaz, a new project that focuses on the art of impromptu photography.
Berwaz, or The Street Studio Project, aims to produce high-quality, spontaneous photographs that are both fun and artistic. The project was founded two years ago by ex-event photographer Ahmed Tahoun.
However, Tahoun had been toying with the concept for years: “the idea had been on my mind for seven years before it actually became a reality.”
Tahoun wanted to focus on the crowds rather than the attractions of events. He banished the idea of “silhouettes” for the sake of honest human contact, where you witness people’s expressions and reactions. Together with three other friends, co-founder and photographer Kamal Samy, co-founder and director Karim Abada, and producer Ahmed Selim, Berwaz came to life.
Tahoun attributes their friendship to the project’s smooth sailing: “we were friends before working with each other, and that is helpful because we know each other well.”
Berwaz is an Arabic word that means picture frame. When asked about the name which seems very appropriate for the project, Tahoun said that they racked their brains to find it. “After a brainstorming session, we came up with Berwaz; which is easily pronounced in English and Arabic, and related to photography,” Tahoun said.
The thing that Berwaz does best is producing “high-quality” works, which Tahoun said is their main goal. However, another goal is to highlight the Egyptian street culture and change the monotony associated with the photography industry in Egypt. Another goal of Berwaz is to break the limits that people create between themselves and others. These goals combined ensure high-quality photos that are both natural and amusing.
Berwaz usually set up at events. Their studio comprises of a simple, fun background, perfect lighting and professional cameras. The rest of the work depends on the team itself as they put shy people at ease and produce quirky images of the crowds.
The first project Berwaz produced was shot at Mashrou3 El Maree3’ at Al-Azhar Park. Tahoun remembers the crowds’ reaction: “I cannot describe how lovely, incredible, and encouraging their reaction was, which helped us to continue,” he said. People’s reactions push Berwaz to seek out other places and opportunities. To date they have done 18 events, but they aim at tackling random streets next around Cairo and Alexandria.
If you want to see Berwaz in action stop by Sufi Bookstore in Zamalek on Thursday, 14 February at 8pm.