One of the iconic locations in Fez is the Chouara Tannery located in the media or Fes al Bali. Anyone who visits Fez, who walks anywhere near the tannery, whether lost in the medina or specifically heading in that direction, will get many invitations to “come see my families leather store” or “let me take you to see the tannery”, of course with the expectation of a small fee in return.
I can’t imagine what it is like to be a tannery worker – kneading the leather in vats of alkali pigeon poop and then dying them in adjacent vats. It looked like back-breaking toxic work.
I was also lucky enough to see the leather auction, which occurs once or twice a week. The auction was vibrant and chaotic, and as I roamed through the men selling their leather, I just tried to stay in the middle of things. There were images everywhere, but I especially want to capture the leather dust in the air created by each seller opening and closing their tanned hides, so that the buyers could see every side.