Rolleicord Photos: The Haïk and the Revolution

Thursday, November 20, 2014 | Algiers, Algeria (map)

Some 50 participants, including women and men, processed down the main street of downtown Algiers.
On November 1, Algerians celebrated the 60th anniversary of the start of their war for independence, and here in Algiers local artists collective "Belaredj" organized a street performance to celebrate the haïk, the traditional women's dress of Algeria.

I was pleased to spend the last day of my 20s tagging along and snapping pictures of the event with my Rolleicord. And, although I still can't find anywhere to develop the film here in Algiers, I just found a chance to do so on a long weekend in Marseille.

As I expected, the results were decent but not spectacular. (And certainly not as strong as those from the last event.) The group had been marching too quickly for me to take proper, well focused shots with my antique camera, whose knobs require significant fiddling to take sharp portraits.

But for all the fumbling it requires, the Rolleicord has its upsides. It attracted plenty of attention from the participants, making it the perfect tool for soliciting portraits. I walked past one woman in haïk just as she was telling a seedy male passerby that no, under no circumstances would she open up her haik and show him her face for a quick photo. But as soon as I passed with my camera, she shouted after me, "Oh, but you definitely can", and opened her wrap and turned toward me, beaming.

In a country so focused on its history, and during a celebration dedicated to an important piece of that history, playing around with an antique camera is a good way to get into the festive spirit—and to quickly break down barriers.

The full album is available here. Enjoy a selection below:

4 comments:

Haley said...

Awesome shots! I especially like the one of the four ladies with their shoes peeking out. Freedom and fashion can definitely fit together...

Patrick said...

Maybe most of them didn't come out well, but the ones you have here came out spectacularly!

Andrew Farrand said...

Thanks, Haley and Patrick! Glad you enjoyed :)

Anonymous said...

Awesome pictures!!
jazayriya in California

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