“The idea of creating a collective came from a need to connect and collaborate with our peers during the Covid-19 pandemic”, the collective affirms via email before adding, “we believe that the power of ‘we’ is greater than the power of ‘I’, therefore we hope that by bringing photographers together, our individual creative voices will be amplified and the values and messages we aim to convey through our photographs will be echoed throughout the world”.
14 members constitute the newly launched photography collective Noorseen—a fusion of the word “Noor” (which means light in Arabic) and the word “seen” in English. “The words vision and light are two key pillars of photography and its jargon. Beyond the linguistic meaning, the collective has a vision that aspires to bring to light the hidden talents of Moroccan photography”, they say.
Thanks to creative collective NAAR, model Nora Attal and photographer Mous Lamrabat (to name but a few), the past couple of years have seen a spotlight turned on the North African country. Featuring names like L4artiste, Fatima Zohra Serri, Amine Houari and Marouane Beslem—who stand on the frontline of creative life in Morocco in 2020— Noorseen’s main aim is to bring together a community of people who want to put their country on the map. Noorseen also acts as a point of contact for photographers from all over the country to collaborate and create new work together.
“Growing up as a creative in Morocco is challenging due to the scarcity of opportunities available. This lack of opportunity might discourage some creatives and lead them to opt for a more conformist and conventional career choice, but we think the youth are starting to take matters in their own hands”, they continue, discussing how Noorseen came into fruition.
And although we still don’t know what life will look like once the pandemic is over, they are convinced it will change the way we see art forever. “The previously false preconceptions on the importance and vital role of an artist in any given society shifted significantly. Things are progressing at a steady yet promising pace and this progression could further be fuelled by the nurture of this newly found sense of community that is especially amplified by the wide use of social media by young artists”, they explain.
Within this landscape, Noorseen photographers are reclaiming the way they are portrayed in the media, with representation and community being their foremost concerns. Together, what they create is honest, thoughtful and most importantly, attuned to the want and need of young Moroccans to be in charge of how they are represented. And above all else, Noorseen is democratic. As they note, “there are no designed founders, as the collective doesn’t have a hierarchical structure”.
At a time when young people are feeling increasingly insecure and vulnerable to the consequences of the pandemic and political instability, Noorseen wants to help create a space for young Moroccans to pursue what really matters to them. “Now, and more than ever, a sense of belonging and togetherness is just as pivotal in the success of an artist as any work of art”.
Meet the 14 photographers below: