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Street Photography in Aden

A translated version of this piece is Available in: العربية (Arabic)

In this photo essay, we show the spontaneous and realistic photos taken by the photographer and filmmaker Helmi Fahmi. Helmi has a passion for photographing old markets, especially in Crater, Aden. The district is famous for its traditional old markets, well known for their heritage and abundance of goods. The area is an attractive environment for people from diverse social backgrounds. Some of the markets there include:

– The Blacksmiths Market, which includes blacksmithing shops, plumbing goods, knives and agricultural tools, such as axes, ploughs and other merchandise.

– The Bohra Market, named after the merchants of the Bohra group, an Ismaili sect that dates back to the 12th century in Yemen. This street is lined with many perfume and spice shops, some building materials stores, as well as other shops.

– The Clothes Market includes shops selling men’s traditional coveralls and locally woven fabrics, as well as shops specializing in sewing and embroidery. You will also find exhibitions of the latest and most expensive types of imported clothes, for both men and women.

– Crater Central Market, which includes stalls selling vegetables, fruit and meat.

Helmi Fahmi’s work can be classified as being part of what is known as street photography, or urban photography, which is a photographic art based on capturing vivid, expressive and spontaneous moments of people and things in different places and various situations. It aims to capture magical moments, whether manifested in the gesture of a worker toiling away, oblivious of the photographer’s lens, or in an animal whose facial expression shows raw instinct, or in something stationary or moving that makes up the foundation of life as we know it.

Although this type of photography intersects with documentary photography, its goal is more artistic, with purely aesthetic implications and less so documentary with its historical or functional implications. And although this art has gained favor in recent times, there are legal precautions that the artist must be aware of, for many countries have adopted in their legislative systems legal articles stipulating a right to personal privacy regarding taking someone’s picture or publishing it without their permission. The details of these laws differ from one country to another.

Helmi Fahmi was born in 1996, and is a photographer and filmmaker from Aden, Yemen. Helmi studies architecture at the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Aden. He began his photography career in 2014 and participated in several exhibitions at the international level, including in the Cairo Festival, the Capital of Arab Photography 2016, The International Islamic Civilization Exhibition in Aden 2017, the Beirut Photo Festival 2013, and The International Virtual Salon for Photography in Algeria 2020. At the local level, he participated in the fifth exhibition of the Aden Photography Club and the first exhibition of the Union of Arab Photographers, the Yemen Branch.

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