Photo essay: Snapshots of Egypt, through her lens


With her camera in-hand, 36-year-old Doaa Adel sets out on the streets of Egypt with a passion to photograph life, as she sees it.

Taking photos helps us capture the moment we’re living in and really see through it. It documents history for future generations,” says Doaa, about why she picked up photography as a hobby.

Doaa Adel
Doaa, one of the participants in the photography training organized in 2022, takes photos in Cairo’s Al-Hattaba area during one of her photography tours in January 2023. Photo: Courtesy of Doaa Adel.

After graduating with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Doaa worked in several media jobs, including as a news editor, social media manager and news photographer. As her colleagues and friends started noticing her talent and eye for photography, they strongly encouraged her to pursue her passion.

“I bought my first camera and started doing street photography. This helped me meet so many amazing people and learn about their lives and stories. Each time I would set out for another shoot, I would end the day with so much positive energy,” adds Doaa. “But although I loved my hobby, I was hesitant to become a professional photographer. I would refuse freelancing opportunities for fear of not performing well and disappointing the client.”

Doaa Adel
Doaa at a photo shoot with female farmers in Qalubiya Governorate, during the strawberry harvest season in August 2023. Photo: Courtesy of Doaa Adel.

However, once UN Women Egypt announced on social media that they were offering photography training, Doaa found many people sharing the announcement with her and encouraging her to join.

“During the training, I found an enormous amount of support and motivation from the instructors, unlike any other workshop I had ever attended. They are still supporting me now, even after the training has ended,” says Doaa.

During the training, Doaa learned different photography styles, such as indoor photography and product shooting. Equipped with her newfound skills and confidence, she has now started freelancing as a professional photographer, specializing in capturing large-scale events and conferences. Doaa also plans to collaborate with companies on product shoots.

“Through the training, I learned the most important lesson, and that is that it is okay to make mistakes because it’s the only way to learn and develop. I gained confidence in myself and in my work,” Doaa highlights.

Doaa Adel
Doaa participating in an activity explaining the principals of photography during the UN Women training. Photo: Courtesy of Doaa Adel.

“My experience with the training didn’t just stop with photography, but I also took part in the production of a documentary. This has widened my horizons and provided me with a great experience that has enriched my résumé and helped me expand my client network.”

Doaa dreams of becoming successful in photography and using it to document Egypt’s history.

“I hope that one day I can have my own photo gallery where I showcase pictures of Egypt to document the era we live in, for future generations,” Doaa concludes.

The photography training that Doaa joined falls within a wider set of trainings on creative industries delivered by Arascope for media production in cooperation with Media-Arts for Development (MADEV) including directing, copywriting, editing and coloring.

The activity comes within the framework of the regional joint programme “Promoting Productive Employment and Decent Work for Women in Egypt, Jordan, and Palestine,” implemented by UN Women and the International Labor Organization (ILO), in partnership with the National Council for Women and the Ministry of Manpower, with the support of the Swedish International Development Agency (Sida).

Through this activity, internship opportunities were offered to 100 distinguished women trainees. In addition, teams of selected 30 trainees took part in a documentary competition, which resulted in the production of three women-led documentaries that focused on societal stories portrayed through women’s eyes. The documentaries have been submitted for participation at the upcoming edition of Aswan International Women Film Festival.