A few words about this portfolio, This is the first opus of what is meant to be a trilogy extending over 3 periods in time. The works you see here have been shot on location at the Jemaa El Fna square in Marrakesh in 1999.I plan to shoot the same scene in the near future. Opus II will document the square in 2011. The final Opus will take place 10 years from now in 2021, thus bringing the concept of the Time Machine into full completion. Ultimately the viewer will be able to literally shift from the past to the present and the future. Of course I am facing the time travel paradox as 10 years from now what is now the present will be the past, and the future relegated further down ahead, but I am willing to confront it. My proposition is that photography is a snapshot in time, it literally freezes it on film, making it possible to travel along the time axis. Most importantly is my venture into documenting the life of the Jemaa El Fna square that is a masterpiece of universal intangible heritage over time. The photographs are willingly raw, with no reference to the time they've been shot, and not manipulated or retouched in any way. I have pushed the film to its extent sometimes by manipulating its ISO from the 400 to the 1600 range and through long exposures. The result has that grainy dreamlike aspect that is a key component in my attempt at rendering the mystique of the square into film. More words, Of course there is more to say about the Opus I of the Time Machine, perhaps, to start with, it is the vision of an aspiring young photographer, a 24 years old, with the lightest experience in the field, a probably the most accurate at the same time. The words of Alexandre de St Exupery, his advice to the Petit Prince, ring the truest today to my mind, "On ne voit bien qu'avec le coeur, l'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux". So it served me well to see the things with my heart, because you only see things once, to revisit them is to loose the moment, the light, the subjects, shadows, invisible presences that fill the space are irremediably lost. In the large specter of the ISO that I often pushed to its extent, in the slow obturation time lasting seconds of infinity, I sought to capture then the mystique of the square. Its very essence. The result is this collection of photographs taken at several hours of the day, untill early dawn, and a spiritual experience that is invaluable to me, that I somehow succeeded in translating into film. If the impression of being there is present when you have seen theses pictures, then I will consider my work to have been complete, for many photographs can give you that remote sense of presence whereas I sought to plunge myself body and soul into that square, in the midst of, the depth of it, its very essence, almost if not at times in a state of trance, In what I would best describe as a gnosis, as being there albeit without the being. My argentic camera deprived me of any shuttling from the real to the figured, I existed through my visor and only through it. I penetrated the square and the square penetrated me as through osmosis especially in certain hours of the night, of the bright light of day and at dawn. Knowing, being, seeing are different states of the same object. A photographer captures different things in a photography, and perhaps a way to understand this work is to point a the things I have sought to portray. The long exposures times point to the fact that I sought to capture time. Seconds of it, one, two, tree, more, more time, more light more of it all of what I have seen around me, through me, of the mystical experience that being in the square involves. There are also a lot of hands, I remember seeing in my youth a photographs book by Thami Enadre, he shot hands on close ups, I must have been 15 or 16 and I was deeply impressed. It seems that book resurfaced here, as for the symbology relating to hands, they can be seen waiting, praying, charming a snake, playing on an instrument, holding a card, working. There is also the fact that most pictures seem to be cropped, the head of the subject not showing, Ed rightly pointed out that aspect. What did I gain to express or what quality did I seek to make the photographs acquire by excluding the faces ? Precisely the universality that makes the square universal heritage. That is where the sense of being there acquired in my pictures comes from, that and the fact that quite controversially when I do picture a face it is looking at you intently bringing you irremediably into the picture, or gazing absently driving you away from it. I think that aspect of capture and release trigger is essential in any art work. The coming forth and the issuing forth can when in the presence of a strong piece of art change you, in perceptible and imperceptible ways. Almost all the trades of the square are represented, from the fortune teller to the musician or the snake charmer. And men is not alone, there is a fauna that thrives in the square. Absent are the sounds and the smells, I should be looking intently for a sound recorder for the sounds of the square... Also absent are the smells, the feeling of elation and fatigue having waited into the long hours of the night to capture the lights and the utter emptiness of the square at dawn. In Opus II I will not seek to achieve the same thing, firstly because I do not think that I will be capable of such intensity twice, and secondly because my object will be different. I will seek as much remoteness from the site then I have been capable of proximity. Past the being in, what does the being without involve ? Is there a being without, and if so, where does it reside ? Being without the square can only mean one thing, being oneself, in a dialogue with the work achieved before, seeing but differently, looking but seeking otherness. Opus II will be God willing featured here as well. The aim is to obtain a trilogy stretching over 30 years, marked by 10 years jalons with 3 different approaches. That is the very least that this masterpiece of oral heritage deserves if I am to cover it from a photographic perspective. It is a living being, ever multiform, ever oscillating between the states of reality and myth. I am quite incapable of thinking presently about Opus III that I plan to shoot 10 to 11 years from now, surely at that time I will be looking for other things, therefore I leave my expectations open.