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Family portraits I (With the eyes of another)

Weeshuis - Regentkammer

Schiedam (Rotterdam - Holland)

November-December 2001


Series of 19 portraits

Photo credit: Sjef Van Duin

Installation of objects: Hassan Darsi


The first family portrait was taken in January 2000 in a popular Casablanca photography studio, on the Route d'El Jadida. This studio was composed of a banquette of pink velvet and gilded wood, red drapes, a floral arabesque patterned carpet, a bouquet of dusty plastic flowers; placed on a mirror shelf a few plastic brushes, hung on the wall are colorful ties. Posters, background of the decor, are offered at the customer's choice. The neighborhood studio is also the only popular place to view photographs. These accumulate on the walls, on the counters and in the windows. Black and white, sepia, color, small formats, large formats, frames in raw wood, engraved, painted, silver, gold... The decorations like the scenography of the whole change according to the circumstance, the seasons , the moment to celebrate… And all this constant coming and going of faces crossing each other in the studio. And that's the whole thing that interests me, more than photography itself. It doesn't matter who does the photography. It does not matter if the photographer of the Casablanca series uses expired Russian films bought on the black market. It doesn't matter if the portraits of the souk, where any tracking is superfluous, are submerged by the beating midday sun. No portrait exists by itself. Each portrait exists through the series and its particular context, and each series echoes the other series through a juxtaposition of different, and sometimes tragically identical, human stories, such as those of the beggars in the souk and the South African families who still wear the aftermath of the apartheid regime.


Hassan Darsi, Casablanca, December 2008.

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