Though born in Paris, Leila Alaoui was Moroccan through parentage, born to a French mother and a Moroccan father. She grew up in Morocco’s Red City of Marrakesh, where she took a keen interest in social injustices towards migrants. Having studied photography in New York, she returned to Marrakesh and sought to use photography as a tool to draw attention to the plight of migrants and displaced people, as well as cultural issues. Projects included photographing displaced Syrians, and refugees in Lebanon. A keen social activist whose work opened the world’s eyes to several issues, Leila Alaoui was killed in a terrorist attack in Burkina Faso at the age of 33, while working on an assignment related to women’s rights.
Born in the northern Moroccan town of Larache, Hassan Hajjaj moved to London in his younger years. He now lives and works between the UK and Morocco. Initially a contemporary artist, often said to be the Andy Warhol of Morocco, he took a greater interest in photography in the 1980s. His images are typically vibrant and eye-catching, often including clothes that he’s designed. His specialty is portraits, including posed pictures of people he knows and strangers on the streets. His work blends modern fashion and pop art, with the wider goal of showing how traditions are affected by branding in a world of capitalism. His art can be found in galleries around the globe, including the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art, the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, and the Brooklyn Museum in New York.
Born in Casablanca, Laila Hida is a self-taught photographer who now lives in Marrakesh. She founded Le 18 on Derb el Ferrane, a space for alternative arts and culture in the heart of the old medina. Her photography work began with disused factories and old industrial buildings, altering the pictures to create striking surrealist images. She progressed into taking staged portraits. Her other interests include cultural and social activism, including the role and rights of women, and equal education opportunities.