Mohamed Mahdy finalist and winner in two competitions with two different stories

Photo 2 student Mohamed Mahdy has, this week, been selected as finalist in both 2022 W. Eugene Smith Student Grant and winner in The Canon Student Development Programme.

In a fishing village a woman sits under the tree she planted in front of her house, reading the Quran as the birds gather around her, remembering the house she built with her husband for just 25 EGP. She remembers that he was so kind, filling the holes with papers so the cold wind couldn’t enter, covering her with plastic bags to warm her every morning. It was heaven there, but this house no longer exists now. It’s just a memory.
Photo from Mohamed Mahdy’s interactive project “Here the Doors Don’t Know Me” for which he has been selected as finalist in the 2022 W. Eugene Smith Student Grant.

Mohamed Mahdy is among the four finalists for the 2022 W. Eugene Smith Student Grant with his project “Here the Doors Don’t Know Me” about a community of fishers around the Mahmoodiyah canal in the Al Max neighborhoods in Alexandria, Egypt near his home.

Mohamed writes about his project “Here the Doors Don’t Know Me”: The fishing village is a community of fishers around the Mahmoodiyah canal in the Al Max neighborhoods in Alexandria, Egypt near my home. It was called the Middle East’s Venice because it had the same vibes and beauty as Venice, Italy. One day residents woke up to the news that they had to leave their houses, their history, and possibly their lives as fishers. The Doors Who Don’t Know Me began with me trying to understand these questions through their stories: What does a home mean? What does displacement mean? And how does it feel just waiting for something to come and change your life forever?

The final winner of the 2022 W. Eugene Smith Student Grant will receive a grant of $5,000 that provides the student photographer with the financial freedom to complete a photographic essay. In 2021, another DMJX student, Salih Basheer won the grant. This year’s winner will be announced in October 2022.

One of the fishermen standing in Al Max sea fishing after the announcing from the government that their houses will be demolished and they will be displaced without knowing the reasons. Photo from the project by Mohamed Mahdy.

One of the blocks in the Moon Valley. The Fifth Oven, a cement factory, was constructed next to the northern part of the residential area. The factory and the housing are only 10 meters apart. Photo: Mohamed Mahdy from the story “Moon Dust”.

Mohamed Mahdy is also among the five student photographers, who have won the Canon Student Development Programme and therefore been selected for the final round. The prize is based on his project “Moon Dust” about the pollution of Wadi el-Qamar (Moon Valley) in western Alexandria.

In the intro for the story, Mohamed Mahdy writes: Where the breathing air should be accessible for everyone in Moon Valley this is not an
option. Wadi el-Qamar (Moon Valley) is a teeming residential quarter in western Alexandria, one of Egypt’s largest cities.
Today, black clouds of exhaust billow from the chimneys of the Alexandria Portland Cement Company, a subsidiary of “Titan” a Greek cement and building materials producer, less than 15 meters away. Because Moon Valley lies directly in the path of the factory’s emissions, toxic cement dust blankets the homes of nearly half of its residents, leading to numerous cases of chest infections and asthma, lung cancer, eye, ear and throat

The final round of the student programme consists of participation in the Hamburg Portfolio Review, where the five winners will spend three days meeting picture editors and having their portfolios reviewed. After that, the five students head off with long-term mentorships and receive Canon equipment and a €2,000 grant to begin the next chapter of their careers.

Amal she is 11 years old. She came to this area when she was 3 years old and just after a few months she got asthma and have to use the breathing mask. The father: “When we moved here, Amal was the only one who got asthma, she was only 3 years old.” Photo by Mohamed Mahdy from the story “Moon Dust”.

Abdelrahman, 33 years old, He said “My chest allergy started taking a toll on me to the point that I had to go to the hospital. I spent it all for my treatment until there was no money left and had to borrow money from other. Now, I can’t do any effort so I just sleep.” Photo by Mohamed Mahdy from the story “Moon Dust”.