About the Peacock
Muhcine Ennou is an artist coming originally from Rabat, Morocco, currently spending half the time in the Netherlands. Photographing cities, locations, personalities who add to the character of the city is his forte. Each place has its own story and voice. The narrative is told through the emotion, and a certain feeling caught when establishing a frame. A person is only a nuisance, a part of the scene, a mere passer-by who by chance finds the image of himself in a photo. With series as Conflict seeing the light Muhcine experiments with the added meaning of photographing portraits, revealing something else.
Muhcine had been a part of numerous exhibitions since 2015 with the recent one from last year, New Dutch Photography 2019 – Melkweg Expo Amsterdam. With the background in graphic design Muhcine has his own design and concept direction studio that brings an additional angle to his works redefining shapes.
Hey Muhcine, you lived in Morocco, the US and the Netherlands. How do you think those countries added to your style and shaped your vision as a photographer?
Well! As a kid, I was always trying to understand the world around me. I was trying to express myself in many things from making music to design to photography, I was learning everything by myself and had fun with it. When I started putting my work online, people became interested in what I was doing even if I had no idea what I was doing.
In 2015, I was invited by the US Embassy in Rabat for a visual arts program in the US. It was a mind-blowing experience, I’ve learned so much from arts and photography, and everything started to make sense to me. The journey began when they helped with my first exhibition, and I never dreamed of that. Right there a new giant dream was born.
Now I live and work between Morocco and the Netherlands, traveling back and forth between the two countries makes me see everything differently.
"During the series Conflict, I was not really interested in photographing people. But they were always there".
"I took portraits of people I’ve met, and I realized that something in them changed when they saw their photo".
You have started as an artist and developed to different types of media as photography, and sound. How do you think those areas of expertise help you create a distinct voice?
In my works and the mediums I use, I’ve learned to pay attention, think & observe. The way I see things is simply in shapes, light, and color.
What was the work that made you realize that photography is a sphere you want to develop in professionally?
During the series Conflict, I was not really interested in photographing people. But they were always there, in the corner or in the middle of a shot of a scene. The human element made the pictures feel more alive to me. Little by little, I got close to people, and it felt like I was documenting life. I started to search for moments that may look like a movie scene, a moment in a blink of an eye. While traveling around I took portraits of people I’ve met, and I realized that something in them changed when they saw their photo. I was very surprised to see their reaction when they saw the pictures I took of them. In a certain way, the images I captured of them seem to be different from the self-concept they had of themselves.
In these series Conflict you’ve done some astounding portraiture work. Were the portraits spontaneous or did you work with the people to get a specific type of emotion?
In my early practice, I was mainly focused on my everyday-life, tried to capture things I’ve seen around, and places that made me feel something somehow.
Shooting your hometown Rabat walking its streets you probably always find a new location even though you know the city very well. What was the most fascinating place of discovery for you?
Walking and shooting in Rabat was quite boring in the beginning, but once I traveled abroad, I came back with a whole new vision. It looks like I’ve never seen it before. We as humans don’t appreciate or know the value of the things we have until we lose it or see something different.
With the breathtaking series ‘Sometimes’ what is the feeling or thought you would like the viewer to remain with after seeing the works?
Sometimes Here and Sometimes There is the full title.
This came at a time when I felt torn between the two countries, Morocco and the Netherlands. Place and identity are intricately intertwined, and this conflict unsettled me. I felt like I belonged nowhere. As a way of reconciliation, I wanted to take pictures of the places which held significance to me in both countries. A lot of the photographs came out of my memories of being a little boy, feeling lost around places where I grew up and where I used to play, and imagine scenarios. It was always about dreams and longing.
I found pleasure in the act of photographing and carefully observing these places. To move around consciously and affectionately seeing it, felt like an act of love, a way of making myself at home. I am still taking these pictures today, a year later: living in a new house, in a different place, but still at home.
When you shoot on film, what gear do you prefer and what are the main principles to use the light on location?
Whether Film or Digital, I love shooting with natural light and playing with the light and shade. What's more important is that the image speaks to me.
What is the hardest part of making a living from this profession and how can one overcome it?
In one word, sustainability, but I'm doing it anyways. When you love what you’re doing, and you’re doing it from your heart, the rest follows.