“There are things that feel special and sometimes can’t just be said” says 37-year-old French photographer Fred Lahache. For him, the special thing was his connection with his childhood friend, Hamza.
“Our families were very different but we grew up building a common ground,” he explained. “We’d spend hours at each other’s places after school. Summer was the only time of year when we would be apart”
For the self-taught photographer, their time apart became a life-long mystery—one that he’s finally tackled with his latest series “Looking for Hamza”.
It wasn’t until last May when the photographer decided to take a trip to the North African country that his friend’s stories began creeping back into his memory. “It simply started with a real impression of feeling him around during my trip,” he says. “Then, I thought about how I should use my camera to share it, and I guess it was important to find something that would be transversal to two eras; our childhood together, and our relationship now”.
Prior to that point, the photographer had started to liken the title “Looking for Hamza” to the series, but now the name carried a different meaning. “I was now literally looking for him everywhere,” he says.
What transpired are morsels of Morocco, captured through Lahache’s lens. Despite having been inspired by memories of Hamza—they’re anything but nostalgic. “That wasn’t the point at all” he clarified. “I recalled some real stories from him at the time, but this whole journal is pure interpretation from me, with my own sensibility today”.
But what came of it was a larger surprise that shocked them both—an “extraordinary serendipity” as he described it. Hamza recognized a man from Lahache’s portraits.