top of page


“Facing her destiny” - Aude Leveau – Curator, Dapper Foundation

“Capturing and going deep into the human soul is the only thing I seek to achieve as a photographer. This objective, Ziad Naitaddi achieves it remarkably in this series of black and white shots taken in Salé, Morocco. Photographed through the reflection of a window in a popular neighborhood, a young man with deep eyes seems to be looking pessimistically at the future. It represents a certain youth, already disillusioned. The two other shots selected by the Dapper Foundation differ significantly from the first. They do not show a face and are "live" recordings. However, the photographer manages to evoke the same melancholy, arousing in the viewer the same deep emotion as with a portrait, however expressive. We have the feeling of sharing the state of mind of the people photographed, even if we can barely distinguish them, in the distance. Thus, the relatively wide field of shots gives the impression that the man, by his condition, is alone facing the elements and, more broadly, facing the world, so overwhelming. The choice of particularly dark hues and a hazy atmosphere reinforces the sadness that emerges from the images. With his representation of the other – melancholy and imbued with a certain poetry – Ziad Naitaddi makes us realize that man is, in a certain way, condemned to be alone with himself and with life. . In this series, the photographer seems to mingle with his models, with whom he identifies. He thus carries out a real work of introspection that he restores to us with a particularly accomplished aesthetic.'





“Moroccan photography today for a geo-photography of daily life!” - Fatima Mazmouz

'Surfing a less journalistic wave than his colleagues and working more through the optic of personal perception, Ziad Naitaddi, a short-film director influenced by the cinema of Nuri Bilge Ceylan, offers us photography of hypersensitive, poetic dimensions. He explores the misty, gloomy ambiances of his birth town, Salé, pervading the mind with his ethereal introspection. Ziad's images well up from inside. In one interview he stated: “As a photographer, all I seek is to reach out to and capture the depths of the human soul. In this series of dark hazy photos, I try to express my own feelings by photographing people with whom I identify and have an emotional resemblance – melancholic, solitary and isolated”(9). Where Ziad Naitaddi's work experiences the city as pure emotion...Recounting personal worlds like Ziad Naitaddi's photos'




“Look no further, the new talents of contemporary photography are at the Rencontres de Niort” - Adrien Pontet – Les Inrockuptibles

'This is the case of the youngest in the residency, Ziad Naitaddi, a Moroccan photographer and videographer born in 1995. For him, who had never participated in artist residencies until then, the experience takes on the appearance of a revelation. : “When I realized that I had been selected, I understood that art had no age and that it was not necessary to be trained academically to transmit something and go to the deepest emotions to touch the soul of the viewer.” Encouraged by Munoz to follow his intuitions, he then underlined the importance of the role of the Spanish photographer within a residency whose format necessarily involves a high dose of stress and haste: “It can sometimes be complicated to take the time to think theoretically and artistically about our projects during the residency. It was in those moments, among others, that Isabel Munoz was there, available to help us stay focused on what we wanted to tell as stories and convey as emotions. I was extremely touched to see how much she pushed us to make our own choices, to succeed in framing while giving all the necessary freedom to the artists. Because for me, you cannot create without being free.” A feeling of freedom which allowed him to go to the end of a work around the feeling of depression and the evanescence inherent in any form of happiness. A delicate subject, which Ziad Naitaddi tackles through stagings built from cinematographic references, and clichés all in suggestion, never really showing the face of his subjects...We meet artists who are sometimes less confirmed at the image of Ziad Naitaddi, whose work heralds a bright future for
gender photography.'

“Young photography blossoms in Niort” - Michèle Warnet – Les Echos

'We must also salute the elegant and narrative work of Ziad Naitaddi, who captures street scenes inspired by films he loves, in particular Antonioni's very cult “L'avventura”.


“The fleeting happiness of Ziad Naitaddi” - Sébastien Acker – La Nouvelle République

'Eight photographers, eight portraits in residence at the Meetings of Young International Photography in Niort, with one principle: the photo is the work of another resident. Today, Ziad Naitaddi (Morocco). The youngest of these Meetings, ten years younger than his co-residents on average with 22 years on the clock, came to photography through the cinema. Moreover, the characters who evaporate from his wide shots of dark and misty atmospheres have everything from the 7th art. “My love at first sight for the cinema, I knew it with “Once upon a time in Anatolia” by the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan. I was very moved because I realized then that with the only image one could express deep things. When I was little, in primary school, I spent a lot of time contemplating landscape photos in magazines and when I saw characters, I loved to imagine a story for them, to act as if I lived with them in these photos. When I discovered that Nuri Bilge Ceylan was also a photographer, it really clicked,” explains the child from Salé, a town north of Rabat (Morocco). Director of short films, scenarios in his pocket to see further, he was advised to take pictures to learn how to frame, before launching. “I like this means of expression. I see a very dark world, with humans condemned to be sad, which is joy and happiness passes very quickly, ”he adds. Like the fleetingness of that indefinable moment when you capture the image you want through the viewfinder. His untitled project, his "Photograms" exhibited in Niort, is the preamble to the work he intends to carry out here in residence: "As if I were writing a scenario on the bipolarity that is in each of us", he projects, for the first photo residency of his young life.'

“The absent landscapes of Ziad Naitaddi” - Olivier Rachet – Diptyk Magazine


In his series Les Absents, the young Ziad Naitaddi photographs the silent landscapes of the High Altlas which keep track of those who left to seek a better life elsewhere.
In the beginning, a dream of cinema. Ziad Naitaddi discovers, through Fouad, a DVD seller in the medina of Rabat, the seventh art. Bergman, Antonioni, Angelopoulos, Tarkovski, but above all the Turkish director Nuri Bilge Ceylan, whose wide and extremely slow shots fascinate him. It is by observing the landscapes of Uzak or Winter Sleep that the young man from Salé begins “to understand the color of the space that surrounds [him]. I then grasped, he explains, the distance that separated me from the landscape. »
For lack of means, he abandons his desire to study cinema and turns to photography. He was then spotted by Laïla Hida of the Espace Le 18 in Marrakech, who in 2016 offered him the opportunity to participate in the Dabaphoto event. He presents his first project since renamed Untitled Morocco where he already stages, in uncluttered landscapes and most often immersed in fog, the solitude of his contemporaries.
An inner journey
The residencies then follow one another at a frantic pace. From the Villa Pérochon Center for Contemporary Photographic Art in Niort to Darat Al-Funun in Jordan, via Dar Al-Mussawir in Lebanon where he is embarking, as part of the SMArt Exchange & Residency Program 2017-2019, on a migration series. Three months of residence in Beirut which will be extended by a stay in the Moroccan High Atlas during which he will continue his photographic research. From this path of passionate amateur and enlightened autodidact, he draws the conviction that embracing an artistic career is a test: “I don't think that the artist should be a civil servant, he admits. Creation always imposes itself incomprehensibly on us. »
His participation in 2018 at the Dakar Biennale will forge his conviction that photographic art is not only a question of technique, but that it is above all tied "to an intellectual and sensitive experience". By wanting to document migration in the High Atlas region, he says he wanted to put himself “at the service of the absent”, of those who left their village in search of a better world. His challenge will be to make a hollow portrait of these absentees, by photographing the landscapes so often scrutinized by them. The journey is also interior; Naitaddi adopts the point of view of the migrants he had come to meet and whom he does not see, but whose silent landscapes keep the living memory. Black and white allows him "to go directly towards the unspeakable and the felt, where color disperses attention too much".
Landscapes in the fog
It is then depopulated landscapes that contemplate us, in often tight frames. Pieces of mountain that give the impression of collapsing. Arid natures plunged into the darkest fog. Here, a charred tree. There, a minaret enthroned alone without any real reason for being. Sometimes an electric ml crosses the frame, but it doesn't seem to go anywhere. An electric bulb is repeated inside a window or remains absurdly suspended, but it no longer illuminates anything: "what illuminates the scene is no longer the bulb, but nature", comments the photographer . Desolation reigns supreme, the feeling of abandonment is total. This heartbreaking photograph, with an implicitly political tone, seduces – Ziad received the Jury Prize in 2017 during the Essaouira Photographic Nights – but it is hopeless. Undoubtedly this darkness is only the other visible face of a country in the dazzling light that many nevertheless continue to want to desert.

bottom of page