Photographing history is difficult. Photographing absence is even harder. When I first read Aaron Vincent Elkaim‘s artist statement for his “Jewish Morocco” essay, I doubted a photo essay was the right approach to the subject. His approach is quite intriguing, combining moody set pieces of streets devoid of the stereotypical Moroccan hustle and bustle with straightforward images of documents/photos/worship areas left behind after cultural exodus, and I think it’s the beginning of a great story. Aaron says the project is inspired by his desire to discover his roots. From the statement:
This photographic project is an exploration of Jewish Morocco’s ghosts, artifacts, places and remaing lives. It is a study of the void that remains after this cultural exodus, a look at what has been left behind in the wak of Zionism as well as a retrospective of a time and place where Jews and Arabs lived peacefully as neighbours and as Moroccans.”
There’s been a significant Jewish community in Morocco for the past 2800 years, with as many as 300,000 in the 1940s. Now, fewer than 3,000 remain. Definitely an interesting subject, and a difficult one to photograph. Worth a look.
And just a reminder, if you’ve got a project you’re working on or recently completed, drop us a line here at dvafoto.