Rolleicord Photos: Algiers Haïk Festival

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 | Algiers, Algeria (map)

"Haïk Selfie": A candid shot of participants at the Algiers haïk fest.
After four months of snapping away with my Rolleicord and waiting impatiently to see the results, in Paris this weekend I finally got a chance to visit my favorite photo studio and develop a mounting pile of film. (A lucky 13 rolls!) I was giddy to see how all 13 would look, most especially those I took back in March at the haïk festival in Algiers. (For background, see "Celebrating the Haik, and Debating an Algerian Icon", or in French "Traduction : Fêter le Haïk, et Débattre une Icône Algérienne").

I'm quite pleased with how some of the shots turned out—in particular, the "Haïk Selfie" above, which is undoubtedly my favorite photo so far this year. My thanks again to the organizers and friends who generously invited me to photograph this event.

Below, a selection of my photos from the festival:
At the Ecole des Beaux-Arts, participants recreated Da Vinci's Last Supper, Algiers style.
Several men also donned traditional dress to participate in the event.
A young woman named Thiziri asked me to snap her portrait.
Participants prepare to set out on the walk through town.
As much as the country's flag, the haïk is emblematic of Algeria's heritage.
Hand-woven baskets complete the outfit.
Kahina, at right, also requested a portrait with a friend.
The walk's most interesting moments occurred when the marchers encountered other, mostly older, women wearing the haïk around town, a reminder that for many generations it was just a normal outfit, in no need of celebration or revival.
The haïk is typically one large piece of cloth, wrapped artfully and clutched together with one hand. I was told that doing so correctly is a challenge and can require constant readjustment, particularly for the uninitiated.
Karima and others on the steps of the Grande Poste, where the march concluded.
Want to see more? A full album of my shots from the day's festival is available here.

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