In the eighties of the nineteenth century, photography was still a new medium. The people photographed at the time have a peculiar facial expression – they do not smile, they look at the lens in concentration, they do not correct the facial expressions. It is as if they were not aware that someone is watching them or rather how they will see them. They simply are. This photo was taken in Morocco in 1885, when Hamido was 20 years old. We know little more about him than what Julio Cervera Baviera, Spanish military who was stationed in Morocco, wrote in his diary. He described the youngster as “a loyal, intelligent, young man who spoke some English” and took part in his mission. We can add that he was probably the lowest-paid employee, if not a slave. His person was immortalized for us by Antonio Cavilla, a photographer born in Gibraltar, who lived and worked in Tangier. Many studies of North Africans have been preserved by him, although we know about them mostly only this what photography itself gives us.

Here is a very interesting website about the work of the artist who gained until recently little recognition, https://antoniocavilla.blogspot.com.

Antonio Cavilla, Portrait of Hamido Laâmbre, 1885, Rijksmuseum Amsterdam

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