This article is also available in: Italiano
A chat with Idriss Ela, one of the most talented amateur photographers in the Bel Paese, with Africa in his blood, Moroccan roots and a life that speaks Italian.
K: Who is Idriss Ela?
I: I am an Italian-Moroccan photographer who has lived most of his life in Italy. However, I want to clarify that I do it for passion and not professionally.
K: Where would you like to go as a photographer?
I: It is something I have never thought about because I photograph as I am in love with this art. Before falling in love with “taking pictures” I fell in love with observing them. I liked studying them, analyzing them, understanding what they convey. The passion for taking pictures came later and together with her the passion for travel which in my opinion are inseparable twins.
K: What impact did your Sahrawi origins have on your way of photographing? What is your photographic relationship with Morocco?
I: My being Moroccan-Sahrawi helped me a lot to give my imprint to the photos. It helped me to look at things with different eyes than others. In my opinion, in fact, photography serves to trap our stories through the image of others.
K: In recent years you have taken many photographs of Morocco and Italy, what is the difference between photographing Morocco and Italy?
I: The difference is immense, photographing the two places are two completely different experiences. It’s hard to explain but just think that when I got back from Morocco I got stuck. For weeks I was unable to take pictures, I was too bewitched by the memory of Morocco. There, light, climate and landscapes are completely different, they are “richer”, it is difficult to explain to those who have not experienced it.
K: What difference is there in the way you stand in front of the photographer? Do you have “your favorite photograph”?
I: They are more available than Italy, they really like to show off. Honestly I don’t have “favorite pictures” but I have the ugliest.
K: But then it’s easier for you to spot the ugliest one than the photo?
I: Yes, because in my opinion in that case it is the photographer’s sculpture, he didn’t know how to best show what he wanted to portray.
K: So for you photography is a technical or artistic skill? Where do you place yourself between the two genres?
I: I still don’t think I’m at a level that “delineates me well”, but in my opinion technical ability makes a lot of difference between a great photographer and a good one.
K: What are your plans for the future?
I: I would love to do an exhibition, but I’m waiting for the right opportunity and the right theme. I wouldn’t like people to come see me, I would like them to come for my work.
K: What would you recommend to a second generation photo enthusiast?
I: We start with an advantage, we have 2 cultures that enrich us compared to others and offer a different vision of the world, wider and more original.
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