Presented at SLIDELUCK Fez I
Med Anass El Issmaeli submitted his photoseries of Moroccan artisans to Slideluck Fez I, Due to a technical problem his work was not shown during our event at ALIF Riad. We take this opportunity to present El Issmaeli’s stunning series with you, and to give you a little insight into his thinking on the role of the artisan worker in today’s modern world.
Slideluck: How long have you been working as a photographer?
Med Anass El Issmaeli: I have been practicing photography seriously for about four years and have been a full-time photographer/videographer for about one year.
SL: What was your inspiration for photographing artisans?
MAEI: I live in a city whose historical treasure essentially relies on the artisan’s heritage. I also have family members that work as artisans. During my short photography career, I’ve had the opportunity to work with some people interested in artisans (like Jess from Culture Vultures). All these elements combined inspired me to think about coming up with a fresh aesthetic for “artisan photography,” far from the “snapshot/paparazzi” approach that we are used to seeing.
SL: Which type of artisanal work most exemplifies Fez for you? Or Morocco, in general?
MAEI: Morocco, like all other countries around the globe, is a country with a large array of cultural identities; every region has its own and representative artisanal work. If, for example, in Fez we have the belgha as one of the most iconic artisanal products, that’s not the case in the Middle Atlas, where they have, for example, Amazigh scarves and carpets.
SL: Do you work with your hands as well as a camera?
MAEI: No, I don’t practice artisanal work because I have lived a “modern” life (what I mean by modern is that I went to school, conservatory, university, etc. in search of a “modern” job).
SL: What place do you think artisanal work has in modern society?
MAEI: Modern society’s commercial standards tend to push the artisanal product toward the periphery, so the artisan has to adapt his product to today’s consumer needs. But then he will not be considered as an “artisan.” We should maybe redefine what is considered as artisanal, because if we consider the artisan as a legacy and heritage keeper, we should keep him out of today’s commerce rules; otherwise the artisan is just a primitive form of a businessman that has to update all his outdated knowledge. That’s paradoxical!
SL: Are you working on any other projects right now?
MAEI: It happens that in this period my only concern is building up my own photography/videography company, ASIL Visuals, so I’m suspending all my projects.
SL: Is there anything else you’d like to share?
MAEI: I’m also a musician and I would like to share this piece of music with you. I hope that you will like it.