Dedication. Drive. Determination. These are all characteristics that define Taimour Othman. The 31-year old photographer’s passion for photography is what led him to explore Egypt and create local well-known campaigns; #thisisegypt, #roamegypt, and #cleanyourownmess.
His infatuation with photography began with the first camera phone, Nokia 7650, which eventually led into his father gifting him his own professional camera. This solidified his love for capturing photos. “I always want to document everything around me, I would walk around with my camera everywhere while going on trips and constantly snapping pictures everywhere.” said Othman.
In 2012, Othman created the hashtag #thisisegypt as a way to prove his friends wrong. “The hashtag was mainly dedicated to my friends living abroad that were always thinking that Egypt had nothing to offer.” Othman used photography as a tool to help break down the negative stereotypes about Egypt. “I wanna show people that we do have a lot here in Egypt because I have a lot of issues with media since it is not always what you see.”
After developing his digital skills and social media expertise, Othman developed a second campaign with the hashtag #roamegypt. His inspiration behind the campaign name came from a joke that was said on his trip to Siwa with a friend about turning off Othman’s data roaming on his phone. ALong with #roamegypt, Othman relaunched his first campaign #thisisegypt, which he could not previously claim as his own due to his lack of digital knowledge.
Inspired by his hobby of diving, his most recent campaign, #cleanyourownmess, took a more environmental approach by raising awareness about pollution. While on many of his diving expeditions Othman took notice of all the trash he saw in the sea and on the sea shores. This moved him to use his photography influence as a way to create a movement towards cleaning up litter. He encouraged Egyptians to go to shores and collect as much trash as possible and post pictures of their achievements on social media with the campaign hashtag. As the campaign grew, Othman noticed that cigarettes had a harsher environmental impact on the world than other forms of litter on the shores. Cigarette butts were especially harmful because of their long decomposing age. “We realized in this campaign that you can’t tell people what to do but you can try to give them incentives,” Othman explained. This inspired his idea of rewarding 20 participants with an original copy of his personal photographs as a way to encourage action and raise awareness about the issue.
Othman’s campaigns are mainly local because he believes that Egyptians are the ones that can capture Egypt’s true image and that professional photographers lack that motive. It gives a chance for the outside world to see Egypt through a different perspective; the local lens.
Through Othman’s passion and motivation he succeeded in turning a simple hobby into a life career that inspires and influences others.