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Ismail Zaidy

Abstraction of Morocco _ ISMAIL ZAIDY

Award-winner Moroccon photographer, Ismail Zaidy, takes the viewer on a trip of abstract space and time, making him feel immersed in every visual.


Although the concepts of isolation and social distancing rose, people started to feel connected to each other, across the borders, in ways they never did through sharing the reality of the “new normal” of Covid-19 and, for the first time, everyone is going through the same experience. Long before this paradox of isolation and unity knocked on our doors, a young Moroccon photographer was conveying it, often photographing his subjects alone and opting for a more abstract setting that can be anywhere and everywhere while also presenting elements of his culture for the world to better understand it.

Shot in Morocco.


Photographer: Ismail Zaidy / Text: Aya Nassar

We understand you experimented with various creative fields – writing, graphic design – before landing on photography. Why did you feel it was the right fit for you, unlike the other mediums?

Well, Photography is a family affair to me. In 2018, I started a project named '3aila' (family) with my younger brother, who’s quite a creative person himself, and my sister. They both play a huge part in developing the ideas behind the pictures and we also support each other in developing different concepts for new stories. Also, I mainly use photography to express my inner point of view on some of the topics that I can't express through words. Most of the time, I am a person who doesn't like to talk too much so the best medium that I have explored and found to express myself is through photography and imagery.

What inspires you as a photographer as well as a human to keep going and create?

When I was a kid, I used to live in a modest area in Marrakech where I would watch the way the women wore their fabrics, hike and djelaba out on the streets. These women are still a huge inspiration for me today and, when I initiate a project, I always try to show this side of my culture in my work. Starting in 2017, I was mainly capturing my surrounding environments in Morocco. Slowly I started getting comfortable as an artist and we started growing as a creative family, which I think led me to the minimal, abstract and poetic style of the pictures I capture today.

Tell us about Noorseen collective and your experience with it.

Noorseen is a collective of 14 young Morocco-based photographers to share the passion for photography as an art form. It's a refreshing experience that I really like. We still want it to reach more places and be a locomotive to the moroccan photography movement.

You use a lot of strong colours that contrast with the pastel backgrounds and environments. What does color mean to you?

I love pastel colours but, since, unfortunately, we can't see it in our daily lives as much, I try to transfer my love to these colours into my photos. I think playing with colours and tones is, for me, a way of communicating my family’s problems as well as what's been put in place for us as a society. I believe each colour has a story, meaning and reason behind it, and sometimes the colours are purely based on the beauty it gives off to the image itself.


Which regional and global artists inspire you?

In terms of inspiration, I don't have a specific name as I get my inspiration from a lot of people. However, in terms of building a career, I respect Hassan Hajaji and his story, especially that he is from a small town, and, in North Africa, it's very hard for us to go beyond the borders and have a global platform.


What do you think of the future of the art scene?

I believe that the future is bright and this wave of young artists are coming with a huge potential and energy.

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