Monday, November 15, 2010

Mohamed Hassan: Photojournalist

Photo © Mohamed Hassan- All Rights Reserved
Mohamed Hassan Abd El Aal (Mikko Hassan) lived and worked in Cairo, and graduated from the Akhbar El-Yom Academy with an honor degree in Journalism. He worked as a press photographer in the daily newspaper El-Shorouk El Gedid. Apart from covering political issues, protests and demonstrations, he was interested in documenting the traditional manufacturing processes in Old Cairo. One of these features gleaned him first prize in the 2009 Annual Press Photography Competition of Egypt.

I met Mohamed (aka Mikko) at the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop in Istanbul. He wasn't in my class, but approached me, rather shyly, and expressed his pleasure in seeing that one of the instructors was of Egyptian heritage. He told me that although he had seen my name on the roster of instructors, but had taken it for Lebanese. Mohamed participated in Guy Calaf's class, and had been awarded a scholarship.

I reviewed Mohamed's portfolio which, as he wrote in his biography, had photographs of his explorations in the deepest corners of Old Cairo. He did them during his one day week-ends, on his own time, deriving nothing of it except his own pleasure and self-improvement. I sensed his enthusiasm for photography, saw his talent and his eye for composition, and predicted to him that he'd be one of Egypt's best photojournalists.

It was not to be. His trajectory was very sadly cut short because of a fatal freak accident a few days ago. He will be missed by many.

The Foundry Photojournalism Workshop family reacts: Eric Beecroft, the co-founder of the Foundry Photojournalism Workshop, announced that a permanent full scholarship in Mikko's name will be made available, and his work is featured on the FPW's front page.

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