Sunday, August 14, 2016

Captured in Action Just At the Right Moment, These Vibrant Color Photographs of Morocco in the 1980s As You Has Never Been Seen Before

Harry Gruyaert’s Moroccan pictures have the tenacious certitude of mystery. Their content is neither sociological nor ethnographical, and even less so exotic or journalistic. All anecdote is banished, and time—the story, what comes before and after the photograph—appears to be suspended. And yet, it is brimming with energy—the energy of its colors and postures captured on the spot.

The enigmatic “subject” of these pictures includes such things as the texture of a wall or the material of a fabric, the composition of the air, and the density that is so specific to Moroccan light, at once violent and tender, glaring and maternal, abstract and sensual. The exact opposite of stereotypical exoticism, Harry Gruyaert shows us what has never been seen before of a different reality that is daily but secret.

High Atlas. Azilal. 1986.

Marrakech. Near "Jemma el Fna" square. Shaded streets of the medina (old district). 1986.

Ouarzazate. 1986.

South. Valley of Todra. Region of Tinerhir. Gas station. 1986.

Marrakech. Entrance of mosque at Ait Abrahim. 1986.

Town of Tafraout. Street market. 1986.

On the road to Ouarzazate. 1986.

South. Road between the towns of Ouarzazate and Tinerhir. 1986.

Town of Marrakech. Man resting. 1986.

Fes. 1981.

A shantytown. 1987.

Rif. Chechaouen. 1987. Street life in the Rif mountains. Walls are often painted in blue and white.

Essaouira. Industrial district. 1988.

Essaouira. Amusement stands near the beachfront. 1988.

Marrakech. "Jemma el Fna" square. Woman & child sleeping. 1980.

Meknes. Merchants selling necklaces during the Moussem, traditional feast of the month of December. Apart from wild horses races and folk dancing, it is an occasion for people to invoke supernatural powers to make temporal life more endurable. 1988.

Ramparts & fortified walls of the city. 1988.

Essaouira. Amusement stands near the beachfront. 1988.

In the Casbah (old district of the city). 1988.

Pilgrims with banners making their way to the Mosque during the Moussem, traditional feast of the month of September. Apart from wild horses races and folk dancing, it is an occasion for people to invoke supernatural powers to make temporal life more endurable. 1988.

Meknes. Souk. Bowl of marinated lemons used in traditional cooking. 1981.

Essaouira. Ramparts & fortified walls of the city. 1981.

(Images © Harry Gruyaert/Magnum Photos)

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