Moroccan Spectres


This shot was taken last summer in Madrid at an exhibition of the Spanish photographer Ortiz Echague. From 1903 through to 1964 he photographed peoples and customs in Morocco and his native country. For many of his extraordinary prints ┬áhe used a carbon-printing technique which gave his images the graphical appearance of a charcoal drawing. This late picture was taken in 1964 and is titled ‘Moroccan Sirocco’. My photograph does no justice to the original (see below) but does give the impression that the figures are somehow flying through the gallery. By coincidence in a room nearby this one in the Museo de Belles Artes is a display of Goya’s steel etching plates of, amongst other things, flying witches from the ‘Caprichos’ series. The Ortiz exhibition was particularly fascinating to me as I lived in Morocco for three years at the end of the 70’s and I was struck by how familiar his scenes were, even though they were taken decades before.