Photobook of Egypt  
 
27 June 2018
Dedicated to my loving wife, Lila



There is arguably no place on earth that is as evocative, haunting and unfathomable as Egypt, characteristics which Günther Komnick has captured, sharing with us the land’s vibrant colours and tactile textures. Ever since the Rosetta Stone was rediscovered there in July 1799 by a French soldier named Pierre-François Bouchard, the Western world has been engrossed by Ancient Egypt, its obsession with death and the afterlife, and its unparalleled splendours.
   When Howard Carter and George Herbert, 5th Earl of Lord Carnarvon discovered Tutankhamun’s tomb in the Valley of the Kings in 1922, the newly devised discipline called Egyptology gained momentum. Since then the fascination with the highly evolved civilisation that emerged on the banks of the Nile has found expression in myriad studies in books, journals and in films. The long struggle to decipher hieroglyphs in a bid to gain some understanding and to bring back to life a civilisation of such literally monumental proportions, has given rise to a veritable industry, such is the hold of Ancient Egypt’s majesty on our imagination.
   Yet, within this overwhelming context, Komnick shows us the people who live amid this constant awareness of Egypt’s ancient past, people going about earning their living. He reveals the intimacies of the daily lives of the heirs of this glorious past, a past mercifully also inscribed in the histories of Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome. It is all verifiable, right through to Shakespeare’s time. On the faces portrayed here, we can see timelessness imprinted along with an unostentatious pride: the pride of heritage, of belonging, of context. The past is lived and nurtures the present; nature has bestowed the fertile flooding of the Nile that then as now sustains a people and their time-honoured farming methods.
   Komnick’s mastery in this work is, as in his other works, the creation of a visual poetry that enchants and transmits a sense of wonderment if not gratitude, that such a place and people have survived the woeful regressions of recent history. Egypt is inexhaustible, probably also because it gives such a compelling perspective on our lives today. The refinement and spirit of inquiry that Egypt attained and represents, nurture us to this day.
Dr Wilhelm Snyman, Auckland, New Zealand, 2018