Hayati, meaning “my life” in Arabic, reflects on photographer Karim El Maktafi’s dual identity as a second-generation Italian born to Moroccan parents. The images were taken in both Italy and Morocco, and are all shot on an iPhone SE [Special Edition] – for a couple of reasons.
El Maktafi got into image-making via smartphones as a teen, after using them to take photographs of his friends. After graduating from the Italian Institute of Photography in 2013, he decided to return to the device with a more trained eye, when he decided to shoot Hayati.
He also uses a smartphone camera is because it’s less intrusive. El Maktafi’s family were against him photographing them, and in general don’t approve of photography as a career, which is why their faces are either cropped out or disguised by rays of light in the project. Using a smaller camera proved gentler way to record them, and the many other people involved.
“If you’ve been to Morocco I think you’ll understand that we’re a very colourful country, a colourful people. We see every colour being worn. In Morocco that there is the clash of colours and an attitude not to be scared of colours,” says Hassan Hajjaj. His latest exhibition, La Caravane, is about to launch at Somerset House, the first display for the British-Moroccan photographer in London in seven years. His work reflects on identity and culture, which has featured as a big part of his life and work since moving to the UK from a small port town in Morocco aged just 13.
The Visa Pour l’Image festival returns for the 29th time – to “turbulent time”, in which “photojournalists are obviously needed, and play an essential role which is now more important than ever” as the co-founder and director general Jean-François Leroy puts it
Karim Skalli understood as a child, when visiting his family in Casablanca, that light is not merely a source of illumination – it’s sensorial, evoking a mood or a feeling when it beams through crevices in curtains and on to objects in the home. One of six children, his mother and father would pile them all into a big red van and travel across continents – through England, France and Spain – to reach Casablanca, the birthplace of his father. “We couldn’t afford to fly because there were just too many of us, so my father would drive: it would take days. There wasn’t much to do on those trips, so I used to stare out the window, looking at all the different landscapes, the different cities, the different people. I was captivated by the soft tones the sun cast as it set. Those trips were my window into the world beyond – almost literally,” says Skalli. Light shapes our relationship with both interior and exterior spaces; for example, it plays a significant role in …