Mohammed Elshamy, a Nigeria-based photojournalist who works for Anadolu Agency, was interviewed in the July 18 edition of the New York Times to discuss a series of photographs he took during Egypt’s 2011 popular uprising.

In the interview, Elshamy, who is only 21 years old, described Egypt’s 2011 uprising -- which culminated in the ouster of longtime President Hosni Mubarak -- as the “turning point” of his career as a photojournalist.

During the 17 hectic days of the uprising (from January 25 to February 11), Elshamy managed to capture numerous images portraying the brutality of the Mubarak regime.

One such photo shows a young female protester being violently dragged by Egyptian police -- an image that ended up prompting international criticism of Mubarak’s ruthless police apparatus.

"I was 17 when I took this picture and it had been a year since I began practicing photojournalism with a local newspaper called Almasry Alyoum," Elshamy says in the interview. "I was a little bit unprepared and scared. I hadn't been in a situation like that before."

"It was my first year in photojournalism, and that photo began spreading farther than I’d imagined," he adds. "It ran front page on the newspaper that I worked at and went viral on social media and other platforms."

"Many people were shocked by the girl’s expression and the cruelty of that scene," he recalls. "I think it was an embarrassment for the ruling military junta at that time because it helped change the perception that military soldiers would never do that to civilians."

The young photographer goes on to tell the New York Times: "It was a huge turning point for my work and for me. I grew after this and this made me sure that this is what I want to keep doing."

Elshamy has previously had his work featured in several prominent news agencies and international media outlets, including Time Magazine, CNN International and Al Jazeera America.

Anadolu Agency