This series, taken over the course of two years on my visits to Tangiers, Morocco, portray inhabitants crossing the same street intersection and at same moments of day, when the crepuscular light of dawn is mixed with halogen, neon, tungsten, car and night street lights. For few minutes I am able to capture and document these inhabitants, mostly women. Inaugurating the day, they seem to quietly break the final silence of night the way a body slips into an otherwise still surface of water. And yet the space they occupy is far from placid or unbroken. Seen from an elevated point of view allows for space and discretion between the subject and I, the viewer. The deserted intersection registers as a pale criss-cross on the pavement, which in turn structures each image with a kind of simple, urban geometry. Thus the women who temporarily inhabit this geometry tend to inversely frame it, animating it, like figures on a stark, unadorned board game, ultimately evoking the hooded actors of Samuel Beckett’s Quad (1981). Captured, at times, toward the center of the street, they strike one as exposed and vulnerable, while at other times, they linger on the margin of the image, partially eclipsed by the shadow of a tree.
Like a canvas of celestial navigation, these images reveal multiple layers of meanings and interpretations through their impenetrable obscurity.
Tangiers, By Chris Sharp, Curator
Taken over the course of two years on trips to Tangiers, Morocco, these photos portray women crossing a street just before or at dawn. The women are seen from the elevated point of view of the photographer's hotel balcony, a factor which, aided by their largely black or white burkas and head-dress, renders them anonymous, inscrutable and even a bit phantasmal, creating, nevertheless, a crisp contrast between their clothing and the obscurity of the pavement. Moving singly or in pairs among the crepuscular light of dawn or the yellow glow of the night street lights, the liminal space of the twenty four cycle through which they traverse seems to coincide with the street and even the image itself, as if all three components conspired toward a meditation on transitoriness. Inaugurating the day, they seem to quietly break the final silence of night the way a body slips into an otherwise still surface of water. And yet the space they occupy is far from placid or unbroken. The deserted intersection itself testifies to the continual, yet absent passage of traffic, registering in a pale criss-cross on the pavement, which in turn structures each image with a kind of simple, urban geometry. Thus do the women who temporarily inhabit this geometry tend to inversely frame it, animating it, like figures on a stark, unadorned board game, ultimately evoking the hooded actors of Samuel Beckett's Quad. Captured, at times, toward the center of the street, they strike one as exposed and vulnerable, while at other times, they linger on the margin of the image, partially eclipsed by the shadow of a tree, and as such, seem to conceal themselves. In either case, their appearance in this vacant time and space of the city possesses a startling quality due in a large part to the at once banal and arresting sense of mystery an outsider is liable to experience in such circumstances, as an outsider, as someone who will most likely never get any closer to the moment he portrays than this.
By Yves Sicard, PARIS
Faire surgir l’inconnu du monde pour le capturer, faire voir le tout proche, le moment fugitif qui échappe au regard commun est la marque du grand photographe. Dans le fatras du monde encombré, saturé d’images inutiles et vaines, scintille soudain Ansel Adams, Sugimoto,Cartier –Bresson , Irving Penn. Chacun de ces artistes jouait sur le contraste noir/lumière. Les photographies de Marco Guerra saisissent ce moment sans durée où la lumière du crépuscule salue l’obscurité ou prépare la nuit par un dernier éclat. Le vivant qui passe sans la conscience de cet instant miraculeux devient la tache sur un monochrome de Miro, qui donne la vie. La vie est dans ce croisement de l’humain dans sa démarche naturellement automatique avec le surgissement, l’affleurement du rai de lumière caressant le macadam. Marco Guerra est un rapace, prédateur de l’instant; comme le faucon, il guette sa proie du haut de son perchoir photographique; il flirte avec la métaphysique en suscitant un imaginaire. Il n’y a pas d’image moins « chargée» que celle d’un être humain, franchissant, « entre chien loup » un territoire macadamisé. Révéler la beauté intérieure de ce passage, à ce moment si fragile devient le privilège du photographe créateur. C’est le miracle de la photographie de nous permettre de garder sur notre rétine l’image de l’insaisissable, de nous ouvrir l’œil. C’est si rare.
By Peter Allstrom, New York City
Reflection is the first mystery. The observer begins by looking down upon the figures making apparent progress through daybreak. Soon, however, we recognize the sky beneath them. They are planets in stately movement across a universe. The pavement reveals a star field of infinite pebbles, hazy nebulae in gassy purples and oranges, comet trails and cosmic vibrations.
The figures are going places, but not going away, constrained instead by the anchor of the community and their two-dimensional coordinates. They are unaware of the camera which might give them a third dimension (they cannot know how deep is the sky they walk upon). And a fourth dimension also lurks: Time resides in the anticipation of automobiles, carts and people soon to populate this corner of space. Earlier, the cars left their marks; surely they will return.
Arrival and passage hints at isolation, but that is deceptive. Though darkness encourages a loneliness, this is dawn and the stronger sense is orbit. People and vehicles move through space, purposefully and gracefully. They belong to the neighborhood; the neighborhood belongs to them. Space is not empty (they are not alone); rather they submit to the gravitational pull of local persons and places. They are surrounded by noises, entrancing and subtle at dawn. But is it meaningless repetition: Is cosmic noise simply random static? That fatal signal is withheld.