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Fashion
Mehdi Sefrioui
This Moroccan-born photographer found fame on the streets of Paris before returning to Tangiers to help redefine how African fashion and fine art photography are perceived by the world at large
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ehdi Sefrioui was born in Tangiers in 1988 before moving to Paris to study for an MA in Business in 2010. Walking the streets of Paris with a camera, he began recording his new life and environment. “Just to get some oxygen away from the business school. It was an exutoire, an escape.”

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The photography bug bit deep and he began to reconsider his life goals. He only really knew the street photographers like Robert Doiseau and Henri Cartier-Bresson. He started with the cliche shots of Paris but then, shooting photos of his friends, he began to think more about clothing and styling.

“I love the control that you have in fashion photography. You can prepare your shoot, gather your team, and you know the outcome will be as good as you prepared it.”

He began working on his technique and finding his own style, which took about two years. He wanted to put some of his own identity into the imagery and to tell a story with his pictures. He began to find clients, but lacked the confidence to really go for it directly as a fully fledged fashion photographer. 

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After an internship in Paris at the famous Art Partner photographer’s agency, Mehdi began to think about his roots and soon started to meet inspiring designers from Africa. In 2013, Africa was not marketed the same way that it is now in the art and fashion field. “Because I am kind of stubborn, I thought, I am going to work with them because nobody else is!”  

He signed up for a fashion photography course at Parsons in Paris (later renamed Paris College of Art), which is where I came into his story in my role as professor of photography. There were a lot of very talented photographers at the school, but Mehdi really stood out for his passion and drive to succeed and to learn all aspects of the business of fashion. He even surprised me with how quickly he began to gain really high-caliber clients. 

I remember him telling me nervously that he had just been commissioned to photograph the French Supermodel Noemie Lenoir for the cover of a magazine. I was especially impressed by his INFRA menswear story that he shot on the outskirts of Paris inspired by the infra-red photographs of Richard Mosse who covered the conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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After finishing the course in 2014, Medhi was ready to begin his career with new confidence in his ability and a vision to fulfill. Shortly after this, he was invited to the Lagos Photo Festival as one of the ten best young African photographers. His work began to be published in not only fashion magazines, but also art magazines, and in 2018, he was invited to take over the Instagram account of @fotografiska, the photography museum of Stockholm, before finally returning to Morocco in 2019.

During the last few years, he has begun working on special projects, not just as a photographer, but as an art director and art consultant. “I worked for brands that were not only fashion. It was honestly kind of weird, but with a bit of distance it literally was a salvation. It got me out from just being a fashion photographer. It’s been a chaotic but positive journey.” 

He is currently working on his own magazine TAFUST, a Moroccan guide to the future, which will come out in 2022, and he is curating a show of African photographers at The Instituto Cervantes de Tánger. 

TrooRa Magazine | December 2021
Text Michael Daks
Photo Credits Mehdi Sefrioui
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