There has been quite a lot of inspiration to go ahead with shooting my final project in Morocco. It is a big step for any media practitioner to go it alone abroad, away from what’s familiar and usual. I firmly believe that when you work outside of your comfort zone, you create the best work and often surprise yourself in the process. I never quite had this amount of confidence going into a project as at one point I wasn’t going to be visiting Sefrou in the first place with the Changing Lives Programme.
It wasn’t until I was actually there that I realised the potential to create a visual piece that really meant something. I straight away thought I could do something, what that would be was far from clear at that moment, but I knew it would be to do with the Moroccan people. Their culture, their values and way of life are so very different to what I’m used to in Coventry. It was a breath of fresh air that I’d been sorely needing. I was initially inspired by the artists I met taking residency with Culture Vultures, the organisation I’m liaising with over there. One specifically was Cat Wilson, an Australian photographer who now lives in Casablanca. Her work is phenomenal, she helped me edit my own pictures processing them in Lightroom and just giving me tips throughout our stay not only on work but on life as well. I worked with her on future videos for the programme that ended up playing in multiple buildings throughout the Coventry University campus. Here is an example of one below which can give you an idea of how this place can inspire you:
Quoting Cat on one of her blog posts via HandEye she said “through residency programs like these, the artisanship in places like Morocco can be acknowledged and celebrated and the knowledge carried forward to future generations.” (Handeye, 2016) I began appreciating how unique the community of artisans in Sefrou were. Understanding how some of them feel isolated from the world around them, the industries that could never look to contact him. People say this is just the way things are and have been for centuries but I think that it’s important people appreciate their work, their craft. Possibly it’s true that the apprenticeship out there is dying but we can attempt to save the skill by teaching international artists through these residencies. Staying just 10 days in Sefrou, I got to see the impact the artisans had on the students as well as on other artists.
One evening during the trip, I watched a documentary entitled Return to Morocco (Bruneau, 2014) that was produced for the Al Jazeera Network. It focuses on the former and current Jewish community in Morocco and how many of them were convinced to emigrate to Israel. It is a well put together documentary from Loufok Productions, natural and simple. It shows the people for what they are, telling their own story, the documentary is lead by the interviews. There is some narration to help explain the history and support the material, but the stories complete the piece. I wouldn’t look to have any narration whatsoever in mine however, as my documentary would be about the artisans and their work, how they feel and interact with the world around them. Looking at the documentary, it has both English and non-english speaking interviews. Mine will mostly be in Arabic with English subtitles, possibly with an english interview for those working for Culture Vultures. After that evening, I was sure that the best way I could create something was through my own documentary that could help people around the world appreciate the work of the artisans. Here is the documentary in full below that sparked my creative thinking one evening in Sefrou:
At this point now, I’m going to continue planning the shoot and looking at stylistic ideas as I don’t want it to just be a mundane documentary that gets lost with the others. I want it to serve a purpose and be remembered. I will conduct further research into other documentaries and visual techniques that I will potentially like to use in future posts. For now, this was my initial inspiration for my idea, now I have to further develop it and have a fully fledged plan down for my proposal.
Handeye (2016) Diamonds to Chickens [Online] Available from: http://handeyemagazine.com/content/diamonds-chickens [Accessed: 4th January 2017]
Loufok Productions [Portfolio Online] Available from: http://www.loufok.lu/work [Accessed: 4th January 2017]
Return to Morocco (2014) Documentary Film by Charlotte Bruneau. [Online] Available from: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kdBMXTd0DfI
Wilson, C. Photographer. Please visit: http://www.catwilson.net