By Sekka Editorial
With lockdowns and restricted lifestyles, the COVID-19 crisis has made many of us long to see loved ones and visit places we have long felt connected to. Amongst the people who have experienced this longing is Tabit Rida.
After the COVID-19 restrictions were loosened in Morocco last March, the 24-year-old Moroccan photographer made his long-awaited 80-kilometer journey from Marrakech to the Moroccan village of Ouled Abbas, where his grandparents live. Though Tabit had made the trip to the village countless times in his life before to visit his family members, this journey was unlike any other he had taken before, not only because of the unusual atmosphere the pandemic has created, but also because it was the first time he was visiting the village since he had become a documentary photographer.
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Tabit discovered his passion for photography back in 2017, when he “had the chance to assist on a photo walk with some professional Moroccan photographers.” After that, “I started photographing everything that my eyes see, from my neighborhood to every street in Marrakech. After two years of learning and practice, I started thinking of photography as a career choice, especially with the positive feedback that I had received on my work, ” he tells us.
After more than a two year absence, Tabit, who was born and raised in Marrakech, was “surprised by the amount of change it [the village] has seen.” It was then and there that he decided “to discover the places that stood in the face of modernization…that stood still through time” and capture them through his camera lens.
The result was Some stills from a journey of rediscovering my roots in a small village in the south of Morocco, a photography series by Tabit that captures spaces in Ouled Abbas that have withstood the fast-changing times. “I considered this experience as a visual journey into the roots and history of my ancestors,” he explains. At the center of the series is his grandparents’ house, a traditional Moroccan home where Tabit spent much of his childhood and where he learnt “the value of family, solidarity and empathy.”
But Tabit has also highlighted other locations in the series, such as Abd Al Salam’s, a small cafe in Ouled Abbas where the youth of the village spend a lot of time. “It is a very simple spot, yet it is the source of joy and fun for the youngsters down there,” he describes. “I enjoy capturing pictures and shining light on people and the forgotten simple things, because I believe that it is valuable, and we won’t understand it’s true value until it’s gone.
Since then, Tabit has returned to the bustling Marrakech, where he focuses on capturing daily life in Morocco, and sheds a light on issues that are of social and economic importance in his perspective. He is currently working on a new photography project that will highlight the effects of the ongoing economic crisis on the careers of fresh graduates, and access to the work market. In addition, he is also working on a group exhibition with fellow members of the Noorseen Collective-a photo collective that brings together fourteen young Moroccan photographers, and which was born out their desire to share their passion for photography and to collaborate, learn, experiment and nurture their talents – that will showcase in Paris, France later this year. The exhibition will represent Morocco as it is perceived by young Moroccan photographers.
“There has been an outburst of young creatives in the art scene in Morocco throughout the last years” says Tabit, “And some of these creatives are also members of our collective Noorseen.” Amongst the Moroccan photographers and artists he admires are Daoud Aoulad-Syad, Hassan Hajjaj, Mohamed Melehi and Ismail Zaidy (the latter two are also part of the Collective). Together the young photographers support and help each other grow, and contribute to artistically presenting Morocco to the world.
“Growing up as a creative in Morocco is very challenging due to the scarcity of opportunities available. This lack of opportunity might discourage some creatives and lead them to opt for a more conformist and conventional career choice, but I believe that the youth are starting to take matters in their own hands,” he concludes.
He leaves us with one piece of advice: to succeed in this adventurous field, Tabit believes “you should have something to say.”
To find out more about Tabit Rida, visit his Instagram page.
To find out more about the Noorseen Collective, visit their Instagram page.
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