Project: Narrative

Exercise: A narrative picture essay

 This project requires an assignment to be created and photographed which tells a story or narrative in a series of pictures between 5 and 15. Whilst in Morocco I recalled this was an upcoming exercise and decided to take a series of photographs at the Leather Tannery in Fez.

This ancient tannery in the depths of the Medina in Fez is the oldest tannery in the world and dates back at least nine centuries. When approaching the tannery the smell is the first indication that something unusual is about to appear! The smell drifts around the balcony from where all the action can be viewed. The foul smell is worth braving as the view over the balcony allows you to see a site that has not changed since the 11th century.

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View of Leather Tannery in Fez from Viewing Balcony

The tannery is composed of numerous stone vessels filled with a vast range of dyes and various odorous liquids. The tannery processes the hides of sheep and goats, turning them into high quality leather products such as bags, slippers and other similar products. This is all achieved manually, without the need for modern machinery.

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The tannery workers at the stone vessels filled with a vast range of dyes and liquids

The hides are first soaked in diluted acidic pigeon excrement and then transferred to other vessels containing vegetable dyes such as henna, saffron and mint.

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The hides are dried on the roofs of the Medina

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The finished leather goods on sale in the Fez Medina