Erik Kessels has recently published the twelfth instalment in his long-running series of found photography books. in almost every picture #12 tells the story of Larbi Lâaraichi, a Moroccan wedding filmmaker with a nice line in self-promotion and an old-school Panasonic video recorder. Living in Fez, the pictures are reproductions of the amateur advertisements that cover the walls in his shop – next to his filmmaking credentials: a diploma from Kodak, presented on 26 May, 1993 in Casablanca.
Kessels, founder of the Amsterdam-based communication agency KesselsKramer, speaks a recognizable and humane language when it comes to storytelling that leaves room for individual imaginations to interpret the tale in their own way. A real magpie when it comes to his found photography, often picking his way through flea markets to reconstruct the lives of others, #12 was a less anonymous experience, as he explains: ‘Last year I visited Fez for a workshop and during this week I passed the little shop/showroom of Larbi Lâaraichi a few times. I was attracted by the many images made of him while holding the video camera. After meeting him, he showed me his whole collection of images. I told him about the book series I'm doing and he was very excited about showing all his images. Last December I went back to Fez to hand him over copies of the book’ - an exchange that has been dutifully photographed.
To accompany the collection of images Christian Bunyan has also written a text that captures the enthusiasm of Lâaraichi: ‘He loves people. More often than not, he’s framed by kids and couples, or lounging with his assistants on gold ceremonial chairs…Larbi’s evident passion doesn’t change over the years. He may get older as his camera gets younger (a Panasonic 3000 to a Panasonic 9000) but Larbi’s still focused. He has that rare gift: the ability to find happiness and meaning in his work…Larbi Lâaraichi, a man who needs cameras in his life and on his person. ‘