I recently published an essay in wherever: an out of place journal – a new(ish) magazine that meditates on movement and travel in its lushly printed pages. The magazine is one example of a growing trend in print-only “slow journalism.” Frustrating as it is not to be able to share my words with a click and a Facebook post, I must also admit to a near-obsessive passion for printed words on the page – which makes me thrilled to have published something you can only read while holding it between your two hands (you can purchase your own copy online or find one in person).
The essay begins in a museum full of Protectorate-era photographs of Morocco, and eventually leads to my own collection: the dozens of picture postcards I’ve accumulated over the past five or six years. I’ve always been confused and fascinated by the way that souvenir shops in Morocco are absolutely full of pictures of women (this doesn’t happen elsewhere in the Middle East or North Africa).
The piece mixes my exploration of these images’ genealogies in visual representations of Morocco with a bit of self-questioning: why is it that I collect these postcards so compulsively that my friends now make a point of sending me similar images from wherever they find them – whether the markets of Tangier, exhibitions in Istanbul, or galleries in Berlin – to add to the collection? And more broadly, as I ask in the piece: what is the relationship between the Morocco that we outsiders experience and the images we purchase and carry away with us when we leave?
As for the answers to all these questions, you’ll have to track down a copy and read for yourself. In the meantime, I’m sharing a few images from my postcard collection that didn’t make it into the piece – a vintage and a contemporary image with striking similarities. The pair speaks for itself, I think.
Speaking of beautiful and stunning print-only magazines, I also highly recommend checking out The Carton, a magazine out of Beirut that covers food culture and the Middle East with stunning photography and exceptional design (and the recipes are something else, too). Its latest issue – which just came out! – profiles a Middle East food-and-history venture that I’m involved with. That project launches this summer – so check out the magazine and watch this space for updates about it.