Laura El-Tantawy is an Egyptian photojournalist and artist based in London, England. She was born in Worcestershire, England, in 1980 and grew up between Saudi Arabia and Cairo, Egypt. Given her multicultural background, she has found solace in photography not just as an artistic form of expression, but also as an inner voice to reflect upon her own identity and how it relates to the world around her. She mostly works on self-initiated projects.
"My photographic interest in a project typically stems from having some personal connection with the subject matter,” she said. “Having lived between East and West much of my life, I have often felt lost between the traditional ideologies instilled in my upbringing and the extremely liberal practices of the West. I had to find a defining balance for myself as an individual, and my work as a documentary photographer has helped me do that. Dealing with who I am as a person and my position on the critical social issues facing the world today—particularly those pertaining to my background—is at the heart of all the themes I take on in my work."
El-Tantawy studied journalism and political science at the University of Georgia in Athens, Georgia. In 2009, she received a research fellowship from the University of Oxford, where she researched the impact that Internet blogging and independent newspapers were having on pushing the boundaries of free speech in Egyptian media. In 2002, El-Tantawy started her career as a newspaper photographer with the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and Sarasota Herald-Tribune. In 2006, she became a freelancer so she could focus on pursuing personal projects. Her work has been published and exhibited in the United States, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
She lives between the U.K., her country of birth, and Egypt, with which she associates most of her childhood memories.