Hassan Hajjaj, Rider, 2010, metallic lambda print on 3mm white dibond, 24 1/2h x 35 5/8w in / 62.2h x 90.4w cm
Hassan Hajjaj, Khadija, 2010, metallic lambda print on 3mm white dibond, 53.5h x 36.77w in / 135.9h x 93.4w cm
Hassan Hajjaj, Miriam, 2010, metallic lambda print on 3mm white dibond, 53.5h x 36.77w in / 135.9h x 93.4w cm
For too many of us, the traditional garments worn by women in the Islamic world--hijabs, niqabs, and abayas--provide a lazy excuse to stereotype. The fabric often short-circuits assumptions about the wearer's faith, lack of independence, and resistance to modernity, well before she can communicate the spectrum of her beliefs for herself. That's why Hassan Hajjaj's series of motorbe-riding Moroccans is so important. It asks us to buck this instinct and look for the individuals beneath--in this case, many of them are henna tattoo artists, mothers, or both, who jet around Marrakesh on stylish scooters.
The garments, some of which come from the subjects' own closets and some of which the photographer helped design, are indicators of how a global fashion has broken through traditional communities. But they're also markers of personal style and attitude, showing how these badass women both embrace the modern world and protect their self-expression. It's evidence that when cultures clash, it can leave a more colorful world in its wake.