Morocco. Ordinary days.
Crisscrossing Morocco for more than a decade, from the Rif to the Great South, from the ocean to the Oriental, by road or preferably by track, from Imperial cities1 to the smallest douars, I have never stopped to meet the locals, sometimes in very privileged environments, but more often in very humble, even needy environments.
Between the imperial cities and the pharaonic sites of Tangier-Med2 or that of Noor3, there is a gigantic gap, still far from being bridged: a rural Morocco, that of everyday life, ancestral, traditional, within a strong framework of family, religion, customs ... and a kind of survival, although I hardly dare use this term. Talking about survival seems derogatory: Moroccans are proud, when I say proud, it is not pride, it is honor, that of being Moroccan, that of having founded a family, that of respecting their religion, that of offering a meal to the visitor, that of giving to the poor, that of helping the other, that of "coping". The traditional “ma keïn mouchkil”4 is a kind of invincibility cloak, allowing no doubt or weakness to appear.
But, pride does not feed your man, even morally, when worry is there, the worry of tomorrow, not for yourself, but for your loved ones. The lack of money, the illness of men or of animals, the frequent droughts, and famine, all lurk insidiously in the hearts of men ...
I speak of men, because in these countries, one does not speak of women, unless it is during traditional festivals, weddings or other such events, often in groups, they do not show themselves because traditionally, it is not their role.
Make no mistake, they have just as much importance and responsibility in the family: child rearing, stewardship, meals, laundry, housekeeping, gardening, water or wood procurement, Tuesday souk5 ... Women here are the backbone of the family, men are aware of it ... The major decisions displayed by men are most often those of women. Question of balance ...
One does not photograph women and I respect this (although out of friendship and respect for the chibani6 that I am, I have sometimes succeeded in taking some beautiful portraits!
You will therefore rarely find a woman in my images, this series, paragraph of a large exhibition of one hundred and thirty images entitled "Morocco of lights, Morocco of contrasts"7 is no exception.
The few men I present here are ordinary people, far from their facades, in scenes of ordinary life. Sometimes they live very far from their families, loneliness adding to their worries.
These few moments of ordinary, honest, spontaneous and often lonely expressions of interior life, straddling dream and reality, without embellishment, are faithful to my quest of transmitting a hidden or uneasily noticeable side of things or people, or even the invisible.
I hope, also that these will serve as an invitation to reflect on the concepts of happiness, humble necessities or simply one’s place in society.
1- Rabat, Marrakech, Fez, Meknès
2- Giant industrial complex and commercial port between Tangier and Rabat
3-The largest solar power plant in the world, near Ouarzazate
4-Translation: "There is no problem" universal response to any request, objection, challenge, etc.
5- Weekly outdoor markets in the square of the largest village, in which there are all possible and imaginable products, both food and clothing, tools, etc... Also, 3rd or 4th life supermarket!
6- Old man
7- Exhibition presented on numerous occasions, with the support of the Moroccan Consulate.