«A Beautiful Thing Is Never Perfect» is an ancient Egyptian proverb. During one of Jonathan Emmett’s first times in Cairo, Egypt, he walked down a road where tourists never go. He was blown away by how amazing the architecture looked mixed with the vibrant street life. While shooting, an older man confronted the photographer asking for the reason why he was taking photographs. He explained that it was a beautiful street view, and it was worth remembering. The man looked at the scene and replied: “Beautiful? It’s only an old mess”, and walked on as he shook his head in confusion.
Most visitors to Cairo stay for a short time and visit the pyramids in Giza and the historic museums. However, beauty is to be found in wandering through the less touristic areas of town, absorbing daily life and local scenes. If you stare long enough, you could witness the endless possibilities that hide behind everyday scenes. «A Beautiful Thing Is Never Perfect» is a mix of quirky, fun, dark, strange and sad images that show the depth and complexity of Cairo. The author is planning on working further on this series in his future travels.


Jonathan Emmett is an American photographer and a full-time traveller. He does not have much of a home base since he cannot stay in one country longer than the typical tourist visa will allow. From the first time he started travelling over ten years ago, he has visited around 60 countries with plenty of repeat visits to his favourite places. The top one on his list is Japan with a record of twenty visits to deepen his knowledge of its customs, language and history. More importantly, he travels to photograph places with a mix of cultures and religions that found a way to coexist in the same space.
Jonathan Emmett entered the realm of photography gradually, as he did with travelling. Until he was in his thirties, he did not even own a camera. He approached this field by looking at the master’s work, then fell in love with street photography, although he was too shy at the time to shoot anything but landscapes. Over the years, his style has shifted from focusing on individual characters to more complex scenes.
More recently, he has been working on a project about the nightlife of the Gion area in Kyoto, Japan. It is well known for old tea houses and geisha, but it also has a grittier side holding a certain charm.