If you can feel the sun, smell the gunpowder, and feel the rush of the horses’ charge, I have done my job as a photographer. My mission with “Gunpowder Girls” was to capture the effort and time that the women put into participating in the gunpowder games (also known as the tbourida or the fantasia). I wanted to capture them through candid moments with little or no posing in the hopes that the viewer feels like they were in the middle of the moments.
The Gunpowder Games or also known as “tbourida” or “fantasia” is a performance and competition with roots deep in a centuries-old traditional cavalry maneuver historically unique to the Maghreb. The games consist of multiple groups of six or more horse riders, in traditional loose white pants, white shirts, and capes, armed with gunpowder rifles, standing in their stirrups and charging their horses across a field before firing their rifles in the air. The beauty and difficulty of the games is the synchronization–the charge of all the horses together and the simultaneous firing of the rifles. After the discharge of the gunpowder, the riders rein in their horses together, and dramatically stop at the finish line- inches away from the spectators in front of them.
For my debut exhibition, presenting my photos with people I care about and respect makes this experience all the more fulfilling. Each photograph was selected for the purpose of focusing on one aspect of the games in each shot; the sun, the flare of the gunpowder, or the horse.
All the photos in this collection are influenced and inspired by research for my PhD in anthropology and my time in Morocco as a U.S. Fulbright Student Researcher.