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The Iron Way

The Iron Way

[Cairo's train station, built in 1853, is the most important station in Egypt. Photo by Ahmed Ashraf.] [Cairo's train station, built in 1853, is the most important station in Egypt. Photo by Ahmed Ashraf.]

Two years ago, I took a ride on the train in Egypt. After experiencing this unique world, all I wanted to do was find the human inside the train — not the one who takes the train every now and again but the one who constantly uses it and has made it an enduring part of their life. These are the forlorn people who spend a quarter of every day just to go back and forth from work. They come from villages, cities, and small towns.

The crowded third-class train, the cheapest one, is packed with three to four times the number of passengers it should carry. It is unbelievably jammed.

Taking photos in third-class trains with so many eyes gazing anxiously at my camera wasn’t easy. These pictures are my attempt to tell a story about the Train Man.

About the Photography Page

The photography page aims to provide a space for reflection on photography in its various forms and uses in the Middle East. We showcase the work of photographers active in the region and cultivate critical thinking about photographic practices, representations, and history. The page publishes photo essays, articles, interviews, reviews and more. It also provides information on photographic archives, agencies, and institutions, exhibits, events, and publications.