All images by Manuel Alvarez Diestro

Spanish photographer captures North Africa’s urban environment through its satellite dishes

Manuel Alvarez Diestro has released a new photography series that highlights the urban environment of Morocco, Algeria and Egypt by focusing on the abundance of satellite dishes.

After living in Morocco, Algeria and Egypt for many years, Spanish photographer Manuel Alvarez Diestro has released a new photography series dedicated to the vernacular architecture of North Africa. Focusing on the abundance of satellite dishes that heavily mark the appearance of buildings, whether suspended from their facades or grouped together in a heap on rooftops, the dishes, for Diestro, add a special layer to the urban fabric of their surroundings.

Evocative of a parasitic organism that proliferates across the exterior surfaces of existing structures, not only in North Africa, but in much of the Middle East, the commonly used satellite dish has been somewhat iconicised through the new series.

According to Diestro, it is common in North Africa for buildings to mirror the lifestyles of their tenants, who tend to add many screens, “generating an organic quality to the architecture that is not seen [elsewhere].” The improvisation of the residents, which makes the buildings appear to be living structures that are constantly changing, creates a special realm of expression, resembling a “horror vacui” artwork.