Autochromes Lumière

Gabriel Veyre, the Moroccan Adventure

The Dream of Colours
In 1934, having spent over thirty years in Morocco, Gabriel Veyre embarked on a photographic voyage through the country. For more than a year, he travelled the Moroccan highways taking photographs using Filmcolor, the latest version of the Lumières' Autochrome. Was it perhaps in homage to his adoptive land? A photographic testament? Or perhaps a feeling of his approaching end? Whatever the ultimate reason, Gabriel Veyre finished his work in 1935 and died the following year in Casablanca. A virtuoso of the Autochrome, he painted a unique portrait of Morocco at the beginning of the 20th century. His contemplative landscapes unveil a vibrant vision of Morocco, poetic and legendary. The view he captured of the Moroccan people was no less vibrant. When he photographed Moroccans, it was during their daily activities, most often close-up and from a direct angle. His photographs were never stolen and he always waited for a look from the subject to release the shutter of his camera. The portraits that arose from these encounters bear witness to a profound equality shared between the photographer and the people photographed. Developing and fixing these prints himself, Gabriel Veyre mastered the art of colour, a fact attested to by the impeccable conservation of his images. He was the first to lay the Moroccan colours down upon a photographic emulsion. By chance or by destiny, Gabriel Veyre passed away in 1936, the same year that would announce the inevitable decline of the Autochrome and the collection of additive procedures.