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Episode 6: Through The Lens of a Protest Photographer with Sharif Hassan

Episode 6: Through The Lens of a Protest Photographer with Sharif Hassan


When protestors took to the streets of the ATL on Friday May 29, Sharif grabbed his camera, jumped on his bike and headed down to capture the protests through his lens. In this episode, we talked to Sharif about that experience and about getting arrested on Monday June 1 while photographing the protests after the imposed curfew. Sharif also spent several weeks in Cairo and Tahrir Square photographing the Egyptian revolution of 2011 as a photojournalist for the newspaper Al-Shorouk. His photographs and stories from Tahrir are powerful and changed Eric’s worldview, so it was an honor to get Sharif on the podcast. Eric met Sharif in 2003 when they were both a LOT younger. Back then they worked together for a rabble-rousing outdoor recreation, gear, and travel magazine with a bunch of super-active outdoor enthusiasts and really smart folks. They’ve traveled the USA together, shared an apartment in the ATL for a time, and seen and done some wild things from coast to coast. Sharif, his brother Ezz-Eldin and their family were the first people to show Eric what Islam is and teach him about Muslim and Egyptian culture.  Sharif grew up in Atlanta and has been a commercial photographer, community activist, and active member of Atlanta’s urban cycling community for a long time.  This interview was recorded on Tuesday, June 9. 2020.

*Special thanks to “Adventures with PeachyRider” (on YouTube) for allowing us to include the video content she filmed on the streets of Atlanta on 6.1.2020*


00:00 – 5:09  Street-level view of Atlanta protests and being arrested for violating curfew while photographing the demonstrations

5:30 – 9:40  What Friday May 29, 2020 protests were like in the moment – “It was intense. Nobody wanted to be there. Everybody kind of had to be there…”

9:48 – 13:00  The mindset of being an independent photojournalist and how personal bias affects that – “It’s really about covering the truth…”

13:30 – 16:19  On the presence of bad actors and undercover police who are embedded in the protests

16:50 – 22:01  Comparing what’s going on now in America to what he covered in Tahrir Square in 2011 – “It was significantly different…”

22:45 – 25:14  Sharif’s perspective on how other countries may view what’s going on in America now

25:20 – 26:11  “We know that our government is corrupt, in other countries. You guys in the U.S. don’t understand that your government is corrupt…”

26:15 – 29:09  On the media’s role in telling the stories of the day and truth – “The reality of it is that responsibility is on the user…”

29:30 – 31:04  How to get more involved in your community, wherever that may be – “Start with your friends…”

31:05 – 37:30  Sharif’s personal experiences with racism, being arrested and cuffed inside a jail cell overnight

37:35 – 39:11  Sharif’s experiences with being profiled while traveling internationally and his patience in dealing with it

39:15 – 42:20  On how we can all work together as Americans to make things better – “Realizing that there is a problem…” (first)

42:35 – 45:50  How you can connect with Sharif and his closing thoughts




Instagram: @sharifh3 & @sharifoto

LinkedIn: Sharif Hassan

Twitter: @sharifoto


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