In 1969, fashion photographer Paul Hyman visited his boyhood friend, anthropologist Paul Rabinow, who was conducting fieldwork in Morocco with the eminent anthropologists Clifford and Hildred Geertz. See more than forty of Hyman’s images of Sefrou’s people and places, made during his four month stay. These photographs are exhibited in conjunction with the UCLA conference Islam Re-observed: Clifford Geertz in Morocco.
n 1969, fashion photographer Paul Hyman visited his childhood friend, anthropologist Paul Rabinow, who was conducting fieldwork in Sefrou, Morocco with the eminent anthropologists Clifford and Hildred Geertz. Forty-two of the compelling images Hyman made during his four-month stay will be on display at the Fowler Museum at UCLA from Nov. 28– Dec. 16, 2007, offering a telling contrast from present-day Morocco and a fascinating record of anthropological research at a particular period of time.
Situated in north central Morocco, where the foothills of the Middle Atlas Mountains meet the western plain of Morocco, Sefrou was the location for decades-long research that began in the mid-1960s and was conducted by American anthropologists including the Geertzes and Rabinow, as well as Lawrence Rosen and Thomas Dichter. “Sefrou, Morocco Observed: The Photographs of Paul Hyman” features many images of Sefrou’s lively suq (bazaar), as well as the people and places in other parts of the city and the nearby village Sidi Lahcen.
Hyman and Rabinow met in kindergarten in Sunnyside, Queens, New York City, and attended school together through Stuyvesant High School. In 1969 when Hyman was visiting Rabinow in Morocco, Clifford Geertz encouraged Hyman to buy extra film and provided support and introductions to the people of Sefrou. Hyman produced several thousand images during his Sefrou sojourn, sixty-four of which were included in the important study on Sefrou by Clifford Geertz, Hildred Geertz, and Lawrence Rosen, Meaning and Order in Moroccan Society: Three Essays in Cultural Analysis, published in 1979. While the majority of the photographs in this exhibition were published in that seminal book, several color images have never before been displayed or published.
Hyman graduated from Columbia University in 1965 with a major in French. From 1965, he has photographed fashion, people and lifestyle for various Japanese and American magazines, including Harper’s Bazaar and New York Magazine. Several of Hyman’s photographs from Morocco are in the permanent collection of The Metropolitan Museum of Art.