PHOTOGRAPHY / PROJECTS

THE MENA PROJECT.

by Soufiane Lagrini

“I’ve always had an admiration for my environment, with the word environment I mean people (with their verbal and nonverbal gestures) and backgrounds. Street photography was that very medium that allowed me to showcase that admiration and respect.

When I first started, I wasn’t aware of any of the rules or the technical aspects of this medium, I was just shooting people randomly, whoever that comes in front of my lens without even thinking of a narrative, of course not all the pictures are meant to give a story but at least be pleasing for the eye. I could say that I was always in a hurry with my photography, I didn’t know how to slow down and appreciate the environment by observing it and contemplating at it.

After learning about this genre of photography and looking at the work of great photographers such as
Vivian Mayer, Cartier Bresson, Garry Winogrand or Joel Meyerowitz, I began to be more careful, more
patient to wait for the right subject in the right background.

Since the key word of this presentation is ‘environment’, I opted for environmental portrait to be the name or the main theme of this selection of photographs I selected. It’s a selection that showcases
different kind of subjects living and behaving spontaneously in their small atmosphere, I tend to be
more discreet to not influence their behavior toward my camera.

Speaking of my preferred locations, I mostly visit the old locations or as we call it the old Medina where people are still embracing their roots, their culture and their traditions like in the capture N21 where we have a portrait of a man wearing his Djellaba and carrying his Hammam (Turkish bath) package or in the capture N12 where we have another
subject on his old bike and his Djellaba coming out of an old door of the old Medina. It’s just a way for
me to document the life of those old locations by showcasing my subject’s clothes and gestures.

Along with the old locations I sometimes try to discover the popular neighborhoods where people are not fully
influenced by the modern life, the scenes I look for should focus on the subject with enough environmental context that tells more about their style of life like in the captures N 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 where we have different subjects interacting with each other sometimes explicitly in a simple conversation and sometimes implicitly by just being together in one frame.”