This project has born almost by chance after two visits as a tourist to Fez, where the souks –Arab Marketplace– follow one another, with no interruption, from Bab Boujloud to the lower part of the medina, a maze in which the façades of the houses disappear behind the products they sell, not allowing you to have any reference point.
Trying to follow a route is almost impossible; the city covers itself, up and down, going from alleyways to open-air, to covered routes that bring you to unexpected places. I have tried to mentally reconstruct the roads, squares, stairways, patios, tunnels and small gardens without success. Perhaps the only way to visit this medina is to be carried along by chance and not trying to orientate yourself. You lose so many things looking at a map.
Walking through the alleyways, flooded with all sorts of merchandise, filled with smells and perfumes, hyperactivity in the five senses, there were two times when I did not notice anything.
In my third travel, still remembering the magnificent description of this city’s life given by Paul Bowles, I have started to better understand the structure of the streets’ maze and I have discovered hidden little treasures: the fountains of Fez, one of the first cities in the world to create a public system of water supply.
This time I was staying at Ruined Garden, and its owner, an English woman who lives in Fez since a long time put me in contact with a great connoisseur of the city, who helped me to map this hidden and undervalued treasure, accompanying me in long walks. It is impossible for me to reconstruct the route we followed, I had to renounce to get ready before going to take photographs, choosing the best hour for each subject. I left everything to chance and sometimes I had to renounce to shoot.
The complete series of this project is composed of 64 photographs of fountains, some of which are restored, others abandoned or looted, and the majority, are no longer in-use. The fountains that, at one time, were a meeting and social point, now are often covered of merchandise and trash cans.
Taking your time to find them, observe them and shoot them is not only a way of documenting this unexplored heritage, but a way to pay tribute to their artistic and social value.