Harry Gruyaert, Morocco. Region of the High Atlas. Msemir region. 1976.© Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos. (Courtesy: Harry Gruyaert / Magnum Photos).

Belgian-born photographer and filmmaker Harry Gruyaert was always entranced with color, which he explored deeply in his work. While the artist traveled to many color-filled cities, it was during his first visit to the North African country of Morocco that he had a career-shifting epiphany with color. That first Moroccan odyssey, made in 1969, would be the first of many in his career that spanned more than 40 years. Morocco, his latest exhibition at the Magnum Gallery in Paris, pays homage to the colors, landscapes, and people he met throughout his travels to the country.

What: Morocco, Harry  Gruyaert

When:  January 30, 2021 — April 2, 2021

Where: Magnum Gallery, 19 Rue Hégésippe Moreau, 75018 Paris, France

The exhibit features photos that he took from early 1970 through 2010. The colors pop against dark landscapes and streets —Gruyaert’s use of shadows in the imagery plays both against and with the interweaving colors. In Young Berber Girls Hiding and Giggling, Marrakech, Morocco, 1975, the bright pink, blue, and patterned dresses of the girls spotlight the innocence and giddiness of young friends. Other photos in the exhibit showcase the colorful tents, belongings, and clothing surrounding Moroccan life in the streets and encampments. Not every photo is filled with bright coloring, though: subdued hues dominate in works like Region of the High Atlas and Erfoud. 

A genuine connection to the North African region and its inhabitants is apparent throughout Gruyaert’s work. The photography that was shot in his beloved Morocco showcases an artist transformed by his surroundings and the people who make up the country. The artist now resides in Paris; his photography work has been represented by Magnum since 1982.