Prends Soin De Toi
Prends Soin De Toi documents the collision of past and present and how nomadic tradition inhabits the 21st century.
The contrasts in the moroccan desert create a surreal air of mystery. The paradoxes encountered left us thinking about the importance of tradition. Timelessness is universal, modernity simply an expression of our past. The idea of timelessness, or even learning from the past, isn’t some theme for a single piece, or a trend for a season. It’s what we’ve built our lives on.
We were friends looking for something paradoxical.
And in the deserts of Morocco, Victor Pattyn and I found exactly that.
Armed only with Victor’s camera, a bag full of my favorite glasses and the hope of seeing something spectacular. And that was it.
No plan, no schedule, no must-see people, places or things. Just a thirst for paradoxes and a means to document it. What did we find? Amazingly, we found parallels with our own craft - modernity mixed with tradition. The idea that the answer is not always found in newness, and sometimes the best fit is lies in old ways.
The young guys we met in Morocco had the tech you’d expect in the 21st century, but all of it was intertwined with nomadic tradition. There was little frustration about this. It was a fact. Contradictory, yes. But still a fact.
Our bag full of glasses was our prop; our “in” for striking up conversations. They too were a nod to the past, albeit a more recent one – the early 2000s. Mostly handmade by Kinto, they fitted right in. And surprisingly (or perhaps not?) were near-perfect for the nomads we met.
Charismatic and open to our enquiries, everyone we met took our presence in their stride – no-one questioned why we wanted to photograph them in these glasses. No-one objected. They just picked out a pair and posed. Naturally. And then they were gone.
This charisma was woven with an air of mystery. Strong, capable wanderers, whose traditions and habits we only scratched the surface of, were gone as soon as they materialised. The idea of a mirage is a clichéd one, but fitting here. Modelling the glasses, they imbued a sense of inscrutability to the timeless frames, which comes through in the images. There’s a connection there, but it’s at a distance.
The idea of timelessness, or even learning from the past, isn’t some theme for a single piece, or a trend for a season. This trip to Morocco became more than a quest for adventure, but a confirmation for us that the old is the new. Modernity is simply an expression of our past, made for the future.
Surreal? Sure. But that’s its beauty.
Prends Soin de Toi
Exhibited at Ravenstein 44
17-20 May 2018