Samir Farid’s Collection of Photos from Egyptian Films

– When you receive a box of negatives, it’s
not like opening a box of prints, you know, which you can see immediately and
gaze at an array of photos in front of you and see what you have. We acquired the collection from Samir
Farid who sadly passed away in 2017. He was a writer, a film scholar, and film
critic in Egypt. He had acquired throughout his career, from various
sources, negatives of photographs that were taken on the sets of Egyptian films.
Some were taken during the actual shooting of films, s ome were publicity
shots, some were candid shots of the cast and crew between takes. We acquired them
a little bit over two years ago. We have been rehousing the negatives
into proper archival materials and envelopes, and folders, and they’re in
various stages of breakdown. Negatives don’t always weather well over time and
many of the negatives are falling apart but we are doing our best to preserve
them and digitize them before they break down further. With negatives each one is
a discovery after you scan it and invert it and it reveals its image. It’s going
to be a journey of 3,000… over 3,000 discoveries of images and we have
looking at the images that are available for many of these films online, this
collection will be like no other in the world when we finish digitizing it. We
have some wonderful rare images of famous Egyptian film actors such as Omar
Sharif and Shadia, and some of the films they’re in and the quality of the
images are really astounding. It’s very exciting to bring to life images that
haven’t been seen for more than half a century. It’s especially exciting when
you can see the care that was taken in the photographs – some of the hand
manipulation and changes that were made to the actual images to highlight
certain contours, so a great deal of care was taken in the original creation of
these images and so being given the opportunity to preserve
them feels like a great privilege and we’re very excited with what we’ve
discovered so far and we can’t wait to see what else the collection holds.

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