Around the world, flowers are not only subjects of aesthetic and symbolic significance, but are often a crucial part of a community’s livelihood. Something beautiful becomes - quite literally - a means of survival. Their central role in many distinct cultural practices and traditions yields insightful narratives about a place and its people through time.
This project aims to pursue, capture, and tell these stories, seeded in different countries and cultures. From both an artistic and documentary point of view, each story begins with a single subject — a flower — and unfolds into revealing the deeper meaning and importance to its surroundings and to the people who care for it.
For under two months every year, the Damascus rose, brought on the silk road in the 14th century, now blossoms in the fields of the town of Kalaat M’Gouna. It stands as one of the most remarkable migrations in botanical history.
Anywhere the Rosa damascena grows, generations of women have known about its medicinal qualities and life-affirming properties. In Kalaat M’Gouna, a long-lived tradition of rose-picking in the early hours of the day fills the green orchards hidden behind the earth-toned buildings along the roads that connect cities and desert. Through the doors of some of these buildings, carpets of rose-buds are laid out to dry, and distilleries are set-up to produce rose water as a business for independent entrepreneurs and local cooperatives.
Here, the rose, a subject long represented for the beauty in its form, is also a source of livelihood. For the women rose pickers, farmers, and business owners, it is a proud heritage of their ancestors that they wish to pass on to the next generations. It creates a narrative of hard-work and appreciation for what nature can provide for their families.
12 Hours of Daylight
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