Emilia Cocking (one of our launch Photograds) has been busy making a new body of work entitled Leaving The Red City. We caught up with her to find out more about the project…
Above images from the series Leaving The Red City
Documented along the road between two Moroccan cities, Leaving The Red City explores the increasing modernisation of a landscape routed in religious and cultural heritage. At the Western point of a three hour long motorway lies the harbour town of Essaouira. In recent years, the town has seen a growing influx of wealth through the leisure industry. Welcomed and encouraged by Moroccan political powers, a straight road was installed in order to better connect the historical seaside town to Marrakech, a major economic centre and tourist destination. Through the images in the series, we see the visual effect of a country who’s values and ideals are gradually influenced by Western ideologies; synthetic materials lie scattered amongst natural land, and commercials are carved into roadside buildings. Leaving The Red City looks to document the tensions that arise through the want to preserve traditional principles and the hope for a modern day Morocco.
From start to finish the project has taken me two years, but making the images themselves took less than two weeks. I took the photographs whilst visiting Morocco back in 2014, but it’s taken a long time for me to figure out what I wanted the photographs to say and how I wanted the project to form.
The process of image making was quite natural and influenced purely by place - I photographed what I saw in front of me and the concept and theory came afterwards. I made the images just after graduating in my photography degree so I think this backwards process (images first, concept second) was a subtle rejection of the creative process I was taught to stick to whilst I was at University.
Future aims for the work
I really like the idea of making the project into a small book. I’ve been wanting to self publish for a while because it opens up new possibilities and I think I’d learn even more about the images by presenting them in a different format.
Is the work finished?