The Studios series revisits the photo labs of different cities in Morocco, offering photographers the opportunity to pose in their own shooting locations, thus immortalizing both the subject and the surrounding setting.
Within this same framework, under the heading “Studios. (c)”, Mehdy Mariouche exhibits for a month at the Gallery of the French Institute in Meknes (Wednesday January 26/Saturday February 26, 2022).
Each of us remembers those photographers who hardly smiled, to whom our parents took us to immortalize a celebration, an event, or simply to make us a portrait for an administrative procedure…
In these often tiny studios, the photographer’s imagination transported us to the settings of our desires. We reinvented so many sunsets, flower gardens, arcades, landscapes and beaches…
You could go from one universe to another, go beyond real borders through a process of pretense. The medium is always the same. Photography transcends geographies, reinvents them.
Tangier, Tetouan, Missour, Meknes, Bejaâd or Casablanca, cities visited through their small photography studios. We enter on tiptoe to pick up images of the past and those still present of a decor that is sometimes outdated, faded colors but witness to an elsewhere, an attempt to escape.
These fantasized worlds become so many realities to explore for the eye of the photographer that I am. It’s a world of extremes where everything becomes possible with just one click. It is as many borders crossed. The agreed ones, the material ones that dematerialize through the gaze…
Through their shots, these photographers I met seem to have decided to stop time. They protect their labs like foxes defending their burrows. They retain a classic, fixed, almost immutable mode of operation and framework. Either because they want it that way, or because they don’t have the means. These photo labs, where memory is safeguarded and protected, are cocoons teeming with inner lives unfortunately forgotten by others.
The idea of this project is to look at each photographer, in his studio, where he has photographed thousands of people.
An out-of-screen, out-of-time setting, which adopts an apparently disordered style, close to kitsch; flashes, borders of the background, archives and boxes piled up… right in the middle of all this, the photographer will in turn be photographed.
To pay homage to these photographers is to pay homage to photography. And it is also my vision to develop a work of memory. Because without it, our present and our future would no longer have meaning.