Why photography ?
I started photography as a teenager at my high school's photo club. At that time I was working with film, it was totally different. Then studies and professional life stopped everything. I found myself living in Liberia in 2013. I needed a medium to capture and tell the story of this stay, so I naturally went back to this first love.
In Liberia, I made a kind of travel diary in animated gifs (Monrovia Animated: https://www.fbeaurain.com/monrovia_animated_800.html) and I became passionate about Nigerian cinema (the famous Nollywood). That's when I started photographing movie theaters and documenting African cinemas, a common thread in my work since.
What characterizes your writing?
"Cinemas of Morocco" is a heritage project, the photos are above all there to testify. This project leaves little room for an artistic approach. Nevertheless and in order to give coherence to the project, the overall shots are made in landscape format and in 24mm. In order to give an account of the details and the atmosphere of the rooms, other photos are taken in 50mm portrait format.
The context of creation of this series ?
In 2018, I found myself by chance in front of the Camera cinema in Meknes. The Caméra is a room apart, perhaps unique in the world. Built in 1938, it is still rigorously in its juice. Going to the cinema at the Caméra is a trip back in time. The room, the projection, the seats, even the films are from another era. This meeting was an opportunity for me to realize that there is an exceptional heritage of cinemas in Morocco and it is from this moment that I gave myself the mission to identify and highlight it.
The message is simple. We are at a critical point in the history of cinema where theaters could disappear. We must become aware of this heritage, protect and rehabilitate it, but also relearn the cinematic experience where people come together to share a film.
Do you have an anecdote to share with us?
The project took a turn during the health crisis. The desire to transform this photographic project into a photo book emerged at that moment. Several times during my visits, the former projectionists told me stories that reminded me of the film "Cinema Paradiso" by Giuseppe Tornatore. Cinemas are much more than a building, they are public spaces. Like this film, my project also aims to tell the story and the atmosphere that reigned in these rooms. The book is punctuated by numerous excerpts from books and interviews that tell the story of the atmosphere that reigned in these theaters, which my photos cannot transcribe.