Aswan Heart Centre

In April 2012 myself and Lorriane Ishak traveled to Egypt to film and photograph the work being done at the Aswan Heart Centre.  The centre was founded by Prof Sir Magdi Yacoub and with the help of a very determined medical team they have been providing a cardiac medical service in a very deprived corner of the world.  Our work culminated with an exhibition at the Egyptian Embassy in London where we raised over £20,000 for the charity Chain of Hope, which supports centres like Aswan.   It was a privilege to be welcomed by the team, and to get the chance to portray the valuable work being done there >>

Aswan Heart Centre from Misha somerville on Vimeo.

Cairo London Aswan – 3 screens

This is small video piece for Chain of Hope – it’s a three screens piece designed to connect the work the charity does in supporting the Aswan Heart Center from it’s offices in Cairo and London.  I first saw the three screens idea used by the late Tim Hetherington on his work in Afghanistan – an audio visual piece to run alongside the book ‘Infidel’, film ‘Restrepo’ and photographs for Vanity Fair [one of which won the World Press Photo].  As an idea it offers so much scope for exploring ideas and themes – I hope to get more time to try more of these in the future…

three screens from Misha somerville on Vimeo.


Egypt contact sheets

Having survived a cyber attack I should be posting on the blog a little more regularly than in past months.  Here are some contact sheets from working with Lorraine Ishak and Chain of Hope in Egypt.  We held an Exhibition of our work (photos by Lorraine and a video by myself) at the Egyptian Embassy in London on the 1st June where we raised over 20 thousand pounds for the Chain of Hope.

Excerpt From Interview with Magdi Yacoub

I was lucky enough to have the chance to interview the world’s leading Heart Surgeon Magdi Yacoub in 2012.  He pioneered several medical procedures – most notably ‘the Ross Procedure’ – which he pursued through a period in medical history when it looked like artificial heart valves would  surpass procedures like the Ross procedure, which used natural tissue/grafts to make repairs to the heart.  It wasn’t until decades later (once the patients have lived with the repairs for years/decades) that it became obvious that Yacoub’s intuition and served him well and results showed the Ross Procedure was in fact more successful than the use of artificial values.  Both still maintain their place and continue to be used and developed.

This question I asked in reference to his development of the Ross Procedure:

Misha Somerville:  Ehhh, I mean this field is obviously lead by science, but looking back at seminal figures in history it almost seems like the great scientists are explorers, the great exporers are athletes and the great athletes are mathematicians.  This might be science, how often do you work with your instinct waiting for the science to catch up?

Magdy Yacoub: I think that is an excellent question  ..ehhh… in science you have to be guided by instinct as well, because the progress in science, which is defined as the search for the truth, starts as a leap of imagination  …and these leaps of imagination, called theories or conjectures, and that’s, that’s where things start – it’s like a leap – and then the reasoning starts to either prove it or refute it, and if you can’t refute it then you are are nearer to the truth and science advances   … what does science do?  it is in service of humanity, and the difference between science and humanity is ill defined if you like – science and humanity are intermingled.


Leader of Men – MacCaig for the Egyptian Revolution?

When he addressed ten thousand
faces worked by automation
he was filled, exalted, afflated
with love and ambition for
his fellowcountrymen – in so far,
of course,
as they were not incomparable
with the love and ambition he felt
for himself. No sacrfice
would be too great. No
holocaust. No bloodbath. He
was so affected by the nobility
of his vision, his eyes were,
naturally, blurred.
How was he to know
the mindless face of the crowd
broke up, when he finished, into ten thousand pieces – except that,
when he went home,
he found the tea cold, his wife
plain, his dog smelly?
- Norman MacCaig

I had MacCaig on my mind before leaving for Egypt.  I wondered what he would’ve made of it – Tahir, The Revolution.  Perhaps I have my answer.   The original pics are here