'Intimate' photos capture the daily life of Moroccan women

Story highlights

  • Ali Chraibi captures the daily life of fellow Moroccans
  • It's a world where change is balanced equally with tradition

(CNN)Whether it's the luminescent buildings within the "blue city" of Chefchaouen or the snake charmers and medicine men at the heart of Marrakech - Morocco has long been a muse to photographers.

When Marrakech-born photographer Ali Chraibi replaced his worn out digital camera for a secondhand SLR -- his images changed.
    He went from taking directionless family photos featuring the chaotic beauty of Morocco's "red city" as a backdrop, to more complex, darker images conveying the often unnoticed strength of its women.
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    "They are forgotten," Chraibi told CNN. "Those women have sacrificed a lot. They have sacrificed their life for their kids, for their husband, for the family. They had no life in one way and this you can see it in their eyes. In the way they move, in the way they are."
    His photographs have sustained this unsettling component throughout his 21 year career and propelled him to critical acclaim.
    Born in 1965, the artist is famed for black and white images that give an 'intimate' portrait of his home city. Many are shot around familiar haunts in the old Medina, inside the homes and private spaces of welcoming neighbors. "This is my vision of Morocco, it is how I see Morocco from the inside," he said.
    Chraibi is well aware of the sadness in many of his photographs, "maybe this is what I want to express," he said, "when you just take a piece of the scene. You give it a different meaning...
    "I never expected to be an artist, much less a photographer," he explained. "I don't create things, I don't make scenery. I just take things the way they are."
    Dedicated to preserving the past, his choice of tools is equally as juxtaposed between tradition and modernity, as the daily life of the people he captures.
    Shot using an old square format camera and developed from black and white negatives, there is a warmth and graininess to Chraibi's images.
    "Digital is always perfect and it has no soul. Something is missing," he said. "I have now a digital camera and it's perfect for color but in black and white I'm not satisfied."
    He is quick to point out that this choice can often be lost on many. Some, failing to understand the purpose of mono prints.
    "What they say most of the time is ... 'ah you don't have enough money to buy [a] camera that makes color' and things like that," Chraibi said.
    His decision to shoot "spontaneously" mean that his best pictures, "are always where I don't have to think I just feel," claims Chraibi. He dislikes adding titles to works or trying to "define" images.
    "This subject [Moroccan daily life] is very important for me," continued Chraibi. "What I really needed to say I said it with a picture."