I had a great private appointment a few days ago with a lovely group of young women who loved henna, and when I showed them some examples of different styles they all chose Moroccan designs! I love doing Moroccan-style henna so I was really thrilled.
One of the best ways to work on your Moroccan style, as with any style, is to look for photos of henna from Morocco and copy them! In an earlier blogpost I explored Moroccan body art in the early 20th century, but here in this post I thought I would share some more modern photos I recently found, which are a fabulous step-by-step documentation of the ‘Moroccan’ style.
The photos were taken in Marrakech in 1977 by Bruno Barbey, a Moroccan-born French photographer (if you like photography, Barbey has several books of his photographs of Morocco which you can see here and here). I found the photos on the website of Magnum Photos, an international photographic co-operative which Barbey joined in 1964. The description states: “For marriage, bride has feets [sic] and hands painted with henne [sic]” — I assume, then, that this photoset shows a bride being prepared for her wedding but I have no more information than that.
What’s wonderful about this collection of photos is that the neqasha [henna artist] is demonstrating the traditional application with a kohl stick (merwed) rather than the newer syringe method which was just becoming popular in the 70s. Even better, Barbey has wonderfully captured the artist at work in a series of images, and so we can see the progression of the design.
The fill here is typical of this style of Moroccan henna, which is often called ‘Fessi’ (from the city of Fes or Fez) but was also done in Marrakech as well.
|The design begins. Bruno Barbey, Marrakech, 1977.|