A photograph that made me think – Bruno Barbey – Morocco, Town of Essaouira

This photograph made me think about Identity. The identity of the people inhabiting the town and why they felt the need to mark the walls with their hand prints. As a sign of recognition? As if to say ‘I was here’ or ‘I am a part of this community’ or even to say ‘I existed and made my mark on this world’. But who will remember or recognise who made each print but the mark-maker or makers themselves?
The person who is sitting in front of these marks, huddled with their face in their own palm. Why are they sat there? Why are they hiding their face? Hiding it from the camera or the world around them? Did they leave a mark on the wall? Their identity is hidden despite them being there.
This photograph made me think about the link between the hand prints on the wall and the person who’s hiding behind their own hand. Although you can’t see the people who made the prints on the wall, you know they were there. Although you can’t see the face of the person sat in the scene, you can see they are there. As individuals, their identity is mysterious and scattered, but as a collective, it’s all together as one.
Jack Theobald
L1 Photography, University of the West of England


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