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The forest reclaimed

Near Essaouira, Morocco - August 2016. Freshly cut.
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Near Essaouira, Morocco – September 2016. Dragged away from it’s trunk, a newly felled branch.

The forest reclaimed, photo essay by Darren Lewey

The forests close to where I live provide a source of materials for the local economically challenged rural population. Living off the land with electricity as the only mains connection, harvesting from the surrounding forests is essential to survive; nuts to produce oil, grazing for livestock, rocks to build with and wood to burn. The forests are government owned and the culling of trees is prohibited and policed by the forestry commission and yet there are few if any alternatives to heat homes and cook with. So trees are felled and left to dry, stripped of bark and removed. Scouring the forest reveals trees and branches at various stages of disintegration left to dry out in the summer sun.

(by Darren Lewey)

Near Essaouira, Morocco - August 2016.
This branch has been resting here for some time, it’s foliage having lost most of it’s lustre.
Near Essaouira, Morocco - July 2016.
Hacked off on a bed of colour.
Near Essaouira, Morocco - August 2016.
Red amongst the predominant greens.
Near Essaouira, Morocco - August 2016.
This striking red appears after a few weeks.
Near Essaouira, Morocco - August 2016.
A branch that won’t be taken without a fight.
Near Essaouira, Morocco - August 2016.
A forgotten tree off the beaten path.
Near Essaouira, Morocco - July 2016.
The killing zone.
Near Essaouira, Morocco - August 2016.
A secret area has been set aside for stripping bark.
Near Essaouira, Morocco - August 2016.
Freshly cut.
Near Essaouira, Morocco - August 2016.
A silver grey finish indicates the tree has been left through the winter.
Near Essaouira, Morocco - August 2016.
A tree relocated and partly hidden from snooping.

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Darren Lewey
the authorDarren Lewey
I'm a tour leader running workshops in Morocco & Spain. I graduated with a degree in Photographic Studies from Derby College in 1992 before directing documentaries and programmes for UK TV. As a photographer I currently specialise in semi-abstract landscape views and realist portraiture. Both offer different working methods and satisfy my quest to primarily document subjects closest to home. Working in the medium format digital domain, the images shown here are from July 2016 onwards. During this period I've been keen to develop my own work and prefer projects to single images emphasising a consistency of approach within locations.

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