Saturday, February 11, 2017

Ali Chraibi - The Power of Black and White Images

Marrakech-born photographer, Ali Chraibi, was recently featured on CNN, with his moody, black and white photographs of Moroccan women in their own environment

When Ali Chraibi replaced his worn out digital camera for a secondhand SLR -- his images changed. He went from taking directionless family photos featuring the chaotic beauty of Morocco's "red city" as a backdrop, to more complex, darker images conveying the often unnoticed strength of its women - CNN
Chraibi is well aware of the sadness in many of his photographs, "maybe this is what I want to express," he said, "when you just take a piece of the scene. You give it a different meaning...I never expected to be an artist, much less a photographer," he explained. "I don't create things, I don't make scenery. I just take things the way they are."

Born in 1965 in Marrakech, Ali Chraïbi began photography in 1995 and exhibited very early in his hometown in 1997.
I came to photography relatively late, when I was 30. I was never so presumptuous as to want to be an artist, nor even to devote myself to photography. I quite simply bought a camera, a second-hand SLR, but didn’t know how to use it. I then went on a course run by the French Institute in Marrakesh, where we learnt to use a camera, with, as a bonus, a brief initiation into black and white developing. They gave us two rolls of black and white film and asked us to take pictures. It just so happens that I still today exhibit one of the photos taken with those very first films!- Ali Chraïbi

In 1999, he was the winner of the national exhibition of photographic art organized by the Moroccan association of photographic art, AMAP, and of the "South of the South" prize awarded by the SAREV cultural centre in Marseille.

In 2002, he participated in the Biennale of Contemporary Art in Dakar, Senegal and in 2001 and 2007, at the 7th International Meeting of African Photography in Bamako, Mali.

Some art critics describe me as humanist, as a “poor people’s photographer”. Rightly or wrongly, no matter, it’s not for me to judge. But it is true that I like to bring to the limelight parts that are overlooked or castigated by the self-righteous, the political decision-makers, and the media and, more insidiously, every Joe Schmoe to show all the beauty that the day-to-day around us can harbour. I’m talking about people, but also the spaces in which these people live. It’s impossible, in my mind, to dissociate them. - Ali Chraibi


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