Leïla Sebbar


    In 1960, a young French photographer, Marc Garanger, was completing his military service in French-occupied Algeria. In these late days of colonial rule, the army had decided that the native Algerians should carry identity cards. In the High Plateaus region, the task of taking the photographs for these cards fell to Garanger.

    THEY’VE TOLD THE WOMEN, almost shouting in the language of Algeria’s High Plateaus—Everyone outside, young and old, and come to the village square. The French officer is waiting.

    The women who have ventured outside their homes—they’ve given the tribe many sons; they’re


    Gaëtan Gatian de Clérambault, a distinguished French doctor of neuropsychiatry, was fascinated by Morocco, which he first visited in 1915. For a study of Arab women and particularly of their clothing he took several hundred photographs, which were recently restored and are now being shown to the public, seventy years after they were made.

    AS IF THE WOMEN of distant Morocco had disappeared long before, the anxious eye of the compulsive scholar, the worthy doctor, a neuropsychiatrist, seeks out the last of them, still wrapped in their draped veils, to fix in images.

    He always decides on the pose.