The Uprising: Reflections on the Egyptian Revolution by Dominic Nahr

Post updated April 5, 2011.

In the wake of a massive social revolution, Egypt’s future still remains uncertain.

On January 27th, 2011, TIME contract photographer Dominic Nahr began documenting mass protests in Cairo that ousted former president Hosni Mubarak and ignited similar struggles throughout the middle east.

This multimedia photo essay, produced in conjunction with Magnum In Motion and TIME, combines many unpublished images by Nahr woven with audio he recorded from Tahrir Square.

LightBox asked Nahr to recall his experience of photographing The Uprising:

“Initially there was a great amount of pride and joy from the Egyptian protestors who pushed their way to Tahrir Square. [But when] the police tried to stop the protestors from reaching the square, spurts of violence began to break out. Then pro-Mubarak ‘protestors,’ or rather henchmen, encircled the square and began attacking the protestors with teargas, rubber bullets and pellets.”

As the battle within the square intensified western journalists became the targets of hostility.

“Covering the protests in Cairo was stressful. Everyday, every hour, we made sure we knew which road was safe to use, one we could use without getting attacked by pro Mubarak protesters or harassed by military personal”

At one point, Nahr was detained with another photographer outside of a mall on the outskirts of Cairo.

“We were moved around with rifles pointed at us all the while being shouted at by a commander. We were not allowed to speak to each other and were told to keep our hands on our heads. They took all our memory cards, but ended up letting us keep our cameras. It was unnerving to be told that if we did not give all of our memory cards they would strip us naked right in the middle of the car park.

“It was mild case of harassment, if you can call it that. Other friends of mine were lucky to be alive after being violently attacked by mobs.”

Of all the photos Nahr took, one stands out for him, a young protestor, with his shirt off, holding an empty glass bottle and taking a break from the clashes.

“I felt like him at that moment. That entire day was spent pushing forward, getting tear-gassed with no water or food. We were all exhausted”.

“I don’t think we ever felt Mubarak would resign, but as the protestors doubled and tripled we thought maybe he would. But the signals and rumors made it very hard to trust anything that was being said.”

By the time Mubarak finally did resign, the mood in Tahrir had cycled through festive, anger, relief and finally, jubilation.

“One thing never changed, the demonstrators’ stubbornness to not go home until Mubarak had stepped down.”

To see more of TIME’s coverage in the Middle East visit Yuri Kozyrev’s Dispatch from Libya.

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