AA: Do people ever compare you to Hassan Hajjaj because he’s also a Moroccan artist whose work incorporates heavy branding? If so, do you find that suffocating?
ML: What Hassan Hajjaj does is what he does. It’s really his own style and you can always recognize when an image is his. We do make photos with brands in them, but we also make artwork and sometimes there’s a brand in it but most of the time there’s not. I don’t want to be stuck thinking that there’s only photographer in Morocco that’s making it. I just told someone today that when you run on your own path, there’s a lot of things happening next to you. My goal isn’t to be the the best photographer in Morocco. My goal is set so high, I’m scared to say it. First of all I want to inspire and second of all I want to be remembered. I want for people to go to art school in Belgium and when they study photography, I want to be the person they have to read about.
AA: There are a lot of fully veiled women in your images – they almost feel genderless sometimes. How did you start working with this as a subject?
ML: When you read photography, the face is the key to everything. If you look at a magazine cover the first things you see are the eyes and face – it’s important. I wanted to try to ask: what happens if you eliminate everything, is it still possible to create something interesting? Then you start to be a director of your images and decide where someone should look at first. The cool thing is everyone sees something different in [these images]. A lot of people see sculptures, a lot of people see identity, and that’s kind of thing I really love but didn’t plan for.
AA: The veils you photograph are made with these sunset palette gold and blue and pink, sort of dreamy, silk fabrics. Is there any intention behind these choices, other than aesthetics?
ML: I really love the texture of them. Im really obsessed with textures, if you follow me on Instagram you’ll see me squeezing bread, feeling things. Textures are something that have as much importance as the visual direction. In some way, the fabrics I shot are kind of feminine and almost sensual. For me, they give the biggest cue that women were under the fabrics.