Ahmed Alfie is a cinematographer and photographer based in Cairo, working in Egypt and USA.
My name is Alfie, and I’m not really a photographer at all.
I’m a storyteller.
My first move was shifting my career from engineering to photography and cinematography. After a year of self- education, I decided to buy my first camera. I took it and offered to shoot a video for a carting race. When I showed it to the owner, he asked for more and that’s when I got paid for the first time as a videographer.
Then it was time to make the second move into “cinema” I was lucky and I learned from the best. My first cinematography workshop was with the best man in the region.
Ahmad Al Morsy taught me about simplicity and how giving your heart and your mind to your work can make you a real artist. These were his words to me:
- Every single lamp in the set is a problem you have to deal with, so don’t complicate it.
- Practice and practice, keep shooting anything and everything.
- Don’t worry about the money in the beginning, the money will come.
I was lucky, again, to become one of the crew with him on a lot of projects which taught me more about how to become a manager on the set and how to deal with problems.
Then, it was the time for the third move…
Places That Leave You Speechless
I travelled to NYC to attend my first Steadicam workshop. That’s when I fell in love with the city in too many ways: the people, the light, and the soul of the city itself.
After finishing my workshop I had to decide if I wanted to stay 5 more months to attend another workshop or whether I should go back to Egypt. That’s when I started my street photography work.
My street photography work is about atmosphere and context, it’s not always about getting all the details.
When you press the shutter, you freeze an event, now you are looking for the perfect moment. when you feel you are as close to the soul as possible, which means this is the time for your picture.
Sometimes you chase the light in the streets looking for lines, shapes, and texture. It’s a combination of design and the power of spirit and soul.
Portraits are about lighting a person’s eyes, and how you position the camera. Sometimes it’s from below, sometimes it’s straight on, it’s about getting the soul.
The camera is nothing more than a tool. What’s important is the story, the message, the feeling. To get to that point where someone is just open, you’ve got to earn it.
How do you make this? reach people’s souls…
Communication & simplicity. The subject could be anyone, a very famous person or nobody. You don’t know how open he’s going be, or if he’s going to be nervous, or how warm he’s going to be.
When photographing in digital you’re constantly looking at the pictures on the screen. The tendency is that you are losing the connection, the intimacy between you and the subject, you lose the most important part to makes your picture.
Black & white describe the texture, and color describes the atmosphere.
It’s down to the storytelling, what I care about is the feeling, did it reach you, did it make an impression, maybe change your perception about the person, did it make you think.
My biggest goal, what I hope to achieve with my work is to be a cultural provocateur.
That’s what you can do in a society where you can’t solve any problems–but you can definitely provoke.
I don’t believe you should ever allow your tools to dominate the message.
But you need a camera you can rely on to capture the story, that’s why I choose Fujifilm cameras. the color science in Fujifilm is beyond any other camera. the simplicity in the design makes you want to use it constantly, and the quality of the glass in the lenses. that’s all I need in my camera.