SPOTLIGHT SERIES – #1 ‘HARDLIGHT, TAROUDANT’

alexschneideman.net.

Hardlight is the name I gave to a series of images that I shot in Taroudant, Morocco in 2011. Taroudant is a small city lying just south of the Atlas mountains. It is Berber by culture and is the northernmost trading post in the caravan route that extended all the way to Timbuktu.

I started going to Taroudant when I was a photographic assistant – there were some good winter locations just outside the town. As I got to know the place when I was 19 or so it stayed with me as these things do when you’re introduced to the exotic at a young age. Since then I’ve been back a few times but had never thought to give the place a proper photographic ‘treatment’.

Last year I had the opportunity to go back and this time I set out to capture the place in a way that was true to my accumulated experience of it.

James Ravilious, used it to provide a tonality to his prints that can only be achieved in this way – I write more on this at the end of this post. However, if Ravilious was looking for tonality, I was looking for the opposite, harshness.

The light in Taroudant is pure – that is to say – it is desert light and it hits everything like a bomb -exploding tiny nuances in fabrics and skin and showing the rough edges of everything. There’s a violence in this vision that seemed to ring true with the place. The act of pointing my camera into that glaring Sun and hoping for the best seemed to me to be the only way I could ever blend in with the town and its people. I can’t fully explain this – it’s just the way it seemed at the time.

Not all the pictures were shot like this but my inclination to shoot the sun and see what got in its way guided how I shot all the images.

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