We decided to visit Tangier because we’d never crossed the Mediterranean sea — a border easily passed one way, but seldom from the other.
The city stands perched at the extreme northern point of North Africa, on a cliff where the continent ends. The waves that come crashing at its feet have come all the way from the Americas, but also from the Strait of Gibraltar, and the Middle East. If you stretch out your fingertips, you can almost touch Spain. The beaches glimmer on the horizon, teasing you from 12 kilometres away.
When we first arrived in Tangier, we found ourselves plunged into the lively chaos of a national identity shift. After many sleepy decades as a fading North-African port, today Tangier is awakening. We found it rattling with a fascinating electricity; one that has been shaking Morocco since the Arab spring.
The Morrocan King, Mohammed VI, has launched ambitious plans to transform the neglected coastline into a dazzling, economic hub at the gateway to Europe. An enormous port is under construction, and new roads are being built. Palaces, football stadiums and shopping malls are springing up overnight.
We tried to photograph this mix of Arabic culture, designer logos, horse-riders and neon lights. It’s a place where tradition and modernity intertwine, trashy and timelessness collide. Tangier exists trapped between all these glistening aspirations and hard realities, emblematic of the current rebirth of Morocco. This photography project – titled Tangerine Tales – tries to capture it before it disappears.