Interview with Karina Al Piaro : The Nile's New Wave

INTERVIEW - Karina Al Piaro The Niles New Wave

Tell us about yourself and when you first had an interest in photography. 

I was given a camera by my father and began taking my first images on the Nile in Egypt at a very young age. The love of both Photography and Nile never left me.


How did your career as a fashion photographer pave the way to become a photojournalist?

I had the opportunity of assisting the National Geographic in Egypt while I was shooting advertising and fashion in London and in Paris; this transformed my perception of the true purpose of my image making.


As a photojournalist and visual artist what do you hope to portray in your photos? 

Reportage of emotions and energies that are not often seen by the human eye.


As a photojournalist and visual artist, you bear witness and, in that sense, a messenger?

Photojournalism is traditionally understood by many to be about a search for the truth; yet the portrayal of the truth is much more complex than this and requires literally many facets / layers to connect an audience to the fullest picture.


What is the subject or theme your photos focus on?

A portrait of energy, connectivity and emotion.



Tell us about the project you are most proud of and the inspiration behind that.

My present exploration of raising positive awareness reflecting the pure spirit of the Nile & Nile Basin Territories .What began as a book project reflecting an authentic heritage of the Nile communities has now evolved into a story of survival itself that carries a much expanded voice with an international audience.


What was your most challenging project?

Documenting in Cairo as a female photographer the events that have unfolded since 25th January 2011 and witnessing directly the intensity & chaos of near death, death and the rebirth moments of the spirit in a city I have known intimately most of my life.


Living and working in North Africa with historical events happening all around, how has that motivated and inspired you in your work?

Entering into predominantly Islamic worlds especially as a woman rarely permitted and fully understood by those outside it has been not only a privilege but an honor ; it has been life changing not only as a photographer and a visual artist but it has reframed and informed me as a human being spiritually.

I have witnessed the beauty & purity of a region such as Syria that is now ravaged by war or a territory such as Egypt that is now tangibly changing by the process of Revolution ; to be present both before and during these Historical Timelines has most definitely motivated a change in direction in my image making & created a sense of purpose ; its important that the images being made are affectively a voice for the voiceless.


Tell us about your upcoming projects. 

I am presently in the process of pioneering the creation of a visual & aural legacy for the Nile as well as raising awareness about the necessity of creating a portal for the preservation of the Pioneers of Nile Photographic Heritage dating back to the 1850s or earlier.

Fondation Monde Perdu is a 21st C visual collective at ; the platform was created as a direct result of the witnessing of the Arab Uprising in Egypt so we felt it appropriate to begin this Nile Narrative in that region of the river.

An exhibition tour of our first Nile Narrative is being scheduled to take place in early 2014 and will be developed as a media event creating a dialogue surrounding the issue of the importance of the river creatively on the region as well as spiritually. The exhibition will be supported by the pioneers of Photographic Heritage of the Nile Lehnert & Landrock :


In the world of photography, who do you admire or look up to?

Henri Cartier Bresson was and always will be the pioneering Master of Light & Shadow & Energy; he is my Photographer’s Photographer. I also admire greatly and am inspired by the work and tireless global environmentalism through image making of both Sebastio Salgado & Peter Beard.


Tell us about your non-profit organization Fondation Monde Perdu and what do you hope to accomplish.

Fondation Monde Perdu meaning literally the Foundation of the Lost World is a visual & potentially an aural portal for the Nile Basin territories that was originally inspired by the energy and transformative changes triggered by the witnessing directly of the Arab Uprisings that began in 2011.

It is a positive platform that is designed to showcase the essence of the transformative energy in this region. All projects connected with this portal will raise funds towards the preservation & development of Visual & Aural Heritages of the Nile for future generations.


Do you have any advice for aspiring photojournalists? 

Live your truth. Love people. Protect your integrity as an image maker and as a human being.


Share with us one unforgettable experience you went through.

Documenting the transformative work of the world renowned Egyptian Heart Surgeon Professor Magdi Yacoub whose non-profit hospital on the Nile treats children & young adults from poverty stricken /war torn Nile Basin Territories . It shines as an example of what is possible collectively in challenging environments.