PHS: What was your path to photography? Why did you pursue this career?
T: My photography journey started in the summer of 2017. During this time, I was fortunate enough to assist in a photo-walk alongside some professional Moroccan photographers. Afterwards, I started photographing everything I put my eyes on, from my neighbourhood to every street in Marrakech. After two years of learning and practice, I started thinking of photography as a prospective career, especially with the positive feedback that my work has received and the winning of a public prize in a photography festival in Paris back in 2019.
PHS: What are the topics/themes you are working with?
T: At the moment, I am focusing on the economic and social issues in the Moroccan society. My work is constantly evolving. Back in 2017 when I started photography, I was more interested in taking photos of people in the streets randomly. After graduating with a master's degree in Management and Economic Sciences in 2020, I had the idea of using the medium of photography as a research tool to deal with the social and economic issues in the Moroccan society.
PHS: You are mainly focusing on street photography, capturing beautiful candid moments of life in Morocco. How would you explain your working process from idea to finished project? Is there a certain process in how you approach your street photography?
T: I try not to limit myself and take advantage of all the existing methods. Usually, I adopt two different approaches to create my work; the first one is spontaneous, the second one is conceptual. The spontaneous approach is when the photographer has no control of their subjects and their environment, like in street photography for example. The conceptual approach is when the photographer controls everything from the subject to the environment. In my work, I try to combine both approaches.
PHS: How do you get permission to take portraits of the people?
T: When I am on a “street photography” mode, I try to not ask for permissions as much as possible. Because If you do so, you are not capturing candid serene moments anymore. Sometimes, I ask for permission when I am looking to capture the stories of the people that I meet in the street. The most important thing to me is to remind myself that I am not doing anything wrong by taking people’s pictures in the streets and to ask myself the following question: How would I feel if it were me in the pictures?
PHS: What is the most important message / feeling / experience you want to convey with your work?
T: I enjoy capturing pictures and shedding light upon the locals and the forgotten simple things because I believe that it is valuable, and we won't understand its true value until it's gone.
PHS: Who or what are your influences in your work? Who inspires you?
T: My work reflects first and foremost my primary source of inspiration, which is the Moroccan culture. I believe that photography is an observation exercise. In fact, when you live in a country with a very rich culture like Morocco, inspiration is everywhere you just need to pay attention and practice observation. Some of the artists and photographers that I look up to are Daoud Aoulad Syad, Hassan Hajjaj, Vivian Maier, and Henri Cartier Bresson.
PHS: What is the goal of your photography? What impact do you wish it had?
T: My goal is to encourage those who see my work to look more closely at the world around them and appreciate it, to discover the unusual in the usual, the beauty in the mundane. For me, photography is a means to an end, which I use to better understand the world, the people around me, and myself.
PHS: What goals do you have for your future career? What does success mean to you?
T: My future plan is to continue the work on my ongoing photography series “Marrakech Diary”. Along with that, I plan to develop more documentary projects like the one I am working on now in which I explore the consequences of the pandemic and the economic crisis on the career 2020 graduates and their integration into the job market. In my opinion, I define success as being able to live a simple life while I can do the things that I am more passionate about which are photography and storytelling.
PHS: What are you working on at the moment?
T: Currently, I’m working on a new project that focuses on the effects of the economic crisis on the current situation of 2020 graduates and their access to the job market. In addition, I am working on a collective exhibition with the members of our Noorseen Collective which will take place in Paris in the coming months.
PHS: Is there a project you are working on, you want to highlight and talk about?
T: I just finished a series of everyday pictures during the month of Ramadan. The idea was to go every day in the street and document the day-to-day life of the city of Marrakech and its citizens. This year, Ramadan has not been an easy month for most people here in the old Medina of Marrakech due to the government‘s restrictions and obviously the lack of tourists. The idea behind this challenge came from the need to document the difficult times that the old Medina of Marrakech and its citizens are experiencing. This was also an opportunity to challenge myself and push the limits of my creative abilities both as a photographer and as a storyteller.
PHS: How do you perceive the current state of the African photography industry?
T: Growing up as a creative in Africa is very challenging due to the shortage of opportunities available. This lack of opportunity might discourage some creatives and lead them to opt for a more conformist and conventional career choice, but I believe that the youth are starting to take matters into their own hands and that the new generation will be blown up and we will have great opportunities. I am very optimistic.
PHS: What do you think is needed in the African photography industry for creatives to thrive?
T: I think that African creatives have so much talent and potential to thrive if they are in the right environment and conditions. What I think is really needed is the development of local organizations and institutes that are capable of creating, educating, and displaying the marvellous work of the African communities.
PHS and Tabit Rida
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