Mahmoud Khattab is an independent photographer and writer based in Cairo. Mahmoud’s work spans years of observing change and reminiscence of hills and himself in stills and writings.

In his story, The Dog Sat Where We Parted, which was shown in Arles: Les Rencontres de la Photographie,  and was recently a winner of Polycopies & Co festival, Mahmoud narrates a year as a soldier: venturing into the desert with a dog and an individuality stripped. Finding salvation in the poetry and visual; an autoethnography.

Mahmoud narrates a Cairo’s past we haven’t seen through stories of love that transcended centuries. In A Poet Never Born, a story that intimately narrates two characters who lived 600 years apart, he writes poetry to imagine sceneries of Omar Ibnul Farid and Jamila Fazail meeting over, and over.

His works have been shown in Finland, Ethiopia, France, Tunisia, China and others. He is a member of Everyday Africa, Everyday Middle East and recently became a fellow of Magnum Foundation to continue his work of tracing disappearing valleys in eastern deserts of Cairo. Mahmoud studied medicine at Ain Shams University in Cairo.

Artist Statement

I believe in photography as a warm, personal medium to serve a purpose; a story, a visual archive of our lifetime.

My self taught practice lets me explore my stories in freedom with a patient discipline. My love for Arabic poetry, especially of Andalusi poets the likes of Lisan Al din Ibnul Khatib, Al Mutamid ibnu Abbad’s tribute to his lover Itemad and others, made me love writing stories and, over the years,  strive to make my writings have equal footing with my visuals.

Part of my personality that grows within my work is my passion for terrains and visuals of the earths I live by. Whether a desert I venture into as a soldier, a hill that resilient communities take sanctuary in, or a valley I had known so well that disappeared, I mean to portray them as an anchor to the story I tell like foothills of a mountain that’s there to last epochs.

Contact: mahmoudm.khattab (at) gmail (dot) com

© 2023 Mahmoud Khattab. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, all materials on this website are copyrighted. No part of these pages, either text or image may be used for any purpose other than personal use, unless explicit authorization is given.