A photograph of the wind…
The Sirocco of Northern Africa, to be precise. It was taken in southern Morocco by the late José Ortiz Echagüe. This image has always captured my imagination because it seems to distill the essence of the desert. Its lack of focus, the gosthly turbaned figures, and the swirls of sand; it is like seeing a mirage.
Who was José Ortiz Echagüe? An engineer, a soldier, a pilot, a hot-air balloon fanatic, the founder of SEAT – yes, the car manufacturer, the founder of CASA – the Spanish aircraft manufacturer. And a photographer, an amateur as such. But his photographs of people and places of Spain and Morocco, particularly those taken during the first half of the 20th century, are simply unique. Shepherds, matadors, government officials, fishermen, monks, musicians; no-one escaped his inquisitive eye.
If you want to find out more about the work of José Ortiz Echagüe you can order a beautiful pocket book with a bilingual introduction (Eng-Sp) published by La Fábrica. The book is available from Kowasa Bookshop in Barcelona; they have an English version of their website and take orders from the UK.