I shot this on a trip to northern Morocco, while working on a story on the cannabis farms in that area. Chefchaouen is situated on the foothills of the Riff mountains and I spent a few days there in between making trips to one of the local farms.
The ‘Hamsa’ (meaning five and referring to the digits on the hand) is also known in the Islamic faith as the ‘Hand of Fatima’, and serves as an ancient talismanic way of warding off and getting protection from the ‘evil eye’ by providing a ‘protecting hand’ or ‘Hand of God’. The symbol is used in a variety of ways including amulets, charms, jewelery, door entrances, cars and others.
Being the daughter of the prophet Muhammad, Fatima Zahra is held in the highest of esteem by Muslims, as being the single most ideal example for all women in terms of her purity, and a paragon of female virtue.
I’d photographed the same location at least a dozen times but nothing was really ‘happening’. Late one afternoon, while I was waiting to see what the shadows did to the scene and trying to stop various children from removing all the change from my pocket, this little guy wandered past me singing and seemingly oblivious to everything around him. He walked up the alley and as he got to the end of the shadow he threw his arms up, which in conjunction with the hand prints seems to work, but I suppose I would say that.
It’s always been one of my favourite images and serves to remind me that at least sometimes perseverance can pay off.
Vince Bevan has been a professional photographer since 1984 and joined EPUK in 2002. After freelancing in South Wales and London for many years, he is now based in Cornwall.
His work mainly consists of editorial portraiture, photojournalism and PR, and has been published in a wide range of newspapers and magazines including The Times; The Independent Magazine; Sunday & Daily Telegraph; Geographical Magazine; Le Point (France); Suddeutsche Zeitung (Germany), and Das (Switzerland).
His images sell through Corbis, Alamy and more recently Zuma Press, and recent commissions have come from The Guardian Weekend, Truran Books and Tate St. Ives.
He is currently working on an extensive photographic essay on the fishing industry in the Cornish port of Newlyn (supported by the Arts Council).
Photographer since 1984, EPUK member since 2002.
See more work by Vince Bevan