Welcome to the Past in the Present by ABDELLAH EL BAKRI [Photo Essay]

MOROCCO — It is through the observation of everyday Moroccan life that is full of cultural diversity, rich in terms of physiological, social and ideological differences that I was able to sharpen my gaze.

My curiosity to discover the other, whatever its culture, origins and beliefs, contributes to the improvement of my knowledge and openness to the other and urges me above all to open up to the world that is Around me, and especially to photograph on the instant through street photography. I have this gift, as some humanists tell stories that speak to all the world, and that is shared by a majority of living beings and more precisely of the Moroccans, by what they speak to each one. While listening to my surroundings, I look with my soul, my heart and not just my eyes.

In this photo essay, I focused on some details that I see in the moroccan daily life nowadays, and that used to be ordinary in the 60’s and before.

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FEARLESS — I used to see this old man for quite sometime on my way to school, his face always occupied by his big smile and awkward joy/happiness even when he smokes cigarettes. One day, I went straight up and asked him, “sorry, sir, but aren’t you too old to smoke? You know smoking kills”. He didn’t let me finish my sentence because he already started laughing heartily out loud. I felt awkward and wanted to leave. Then, he grabs my hand and pulls me closer to him and he says, “smoking doesn’t kill, its people with anger and hate that kill and you can just take a look around you and you’ll see what I mean.”
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GOSSIP TIME — This is a popular scene in the Moroccan streets, old retired people gathering around in some house corner, sitting all together playing cards or just gossiping about each other life or the typical gossip subjects. This happens particularly after Asr prayer which is after 5pm.
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A MAN WITH CHARACTER — An old Moroccan man going around the street with his blanket over his shoulder whenever the night finds him, he sleeps there until another day.. I only need my blanket and wherever life takes me I go…
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COFFEE SHOP — In lower-income neighborhoods, coffee shops are very simple and tight, it’s where you can find all different people from different social classes exchange about different topics. Coffee shops in Morocco is a big deal, they are just like mosques or even more, and people can sit around a coffee or tea for hours and hours without getting bored.
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COURAGE — In this part of the life (aging), every step you take takes courage and persistence, we always try not to show our weakness or inability to be independent.
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WORSHIP IN THE STREET — For Moroccan Muslims, religion is not at all restricted in mosques or Home, we can practice our believes in the streets and it’s totally normal. This man is washing his feet as a part of the WUDUAA (Ablution) that Muslims do before every prayer.

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