His main concern is to tell stories with his photographs. Captured on a trip he took from Casablanca to Dakar, Yassine Toumi’s powerful images are clear proof of this. Almost as if by chance, they come together to create an emphatic reportage that speaks, above all, about the people – in the spirit of “humanist photography”.
How would you describe your photographic approach?
I classify it under humanist photography, as I try to convey messages through the image.
Where did you take the pictures and in which period?
As for these photos, I took them in 2017, on a trip from Casablanca to Dakar with a Senegalese trader in his car. It was a nice, six-day experience.
How did the people react, when they noticed themselves being photographed?
At the beginning it was not easy for myself and the journalist with whom I did the report. We didn’t say that we were journalists, otherwise they wouldn’t agree to photographing, or our travelling with them. We said we just wanted to have this road trip experience. There was the driver and two other Senegalese, and two Ivorians: they were really very nice. I had my Leica M-P with me and another camera in the bag. No one refused us taking photos during the whole trip and even in Dakar when we arrived.
In your opinion, what kind of skills does a photographer need?
In my opinion a photographer has to know the message he wants to convey. Additionally the light and the framing are very important. To put it briefly: message, light, framing.
Would you define yourself as a street-photographer or a travel photographer?
I really like street photography, but I find pleasure in reporting. As I said at the beginning, I really like humanist photography to tell stories.
When did you decide to focus on photography? Was there a turning point in your life?
That was really strange. I’ve loved photography since my childhood, and I always liked to think that one day it was going to be my job. After my baccalaureate (high school degree), however, I went to the School of Fine Art in Casablanca to specialize in Interior Architecture. But everything changed in the second year, and I transferred to Graphic Design and Photography; and when I took my diploma I focussed on Photojournalism.
Do you have any photography idols?
Yeeees! Peter Lindbergh, Alec Soth, Dominic Nahr, Paolo Pellegrin…
What kind of equipment did you use? And how did it perform?
I used the famous Leica M-P with a 35mm Summarit f/2.5. I bought it before my trip. I was deeply impressed – up until then I had an M9 – by the level of image quality, and also by the levels of sensitivity and the display screen… the battery life, too.
Please complete the following sentence: Photography is …
… a force of communication. I could also talk about it carrying a message to defend an idea.
After graduating from the École supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Casablanca in 2010, Yassine Toumi began to work as a press photographer the same year. At 37, he is now a photo reporter for the weekly newspaper TelQuel, for which he travels across Morocco and the continent, in search of the photo that will say more than a thousand words. In reporting, his images are defined by his fearless approach and discreetly curious eye. His documentary narrative helps the viewer live certain
realities by proxy. Find out more about his photography on his Instagram page.