We spent a LOT of time in Iceland stopping on the side of the road to gawk at pretty things. This farm was just west of Dyrhólaey.
So, we may have gotten robbed on the train from Marrakech to Fes, and we may have been pushed into filing a police report we weren’t interested in filing (and which took hours and hours for the police to figure out because foreigners never file reports), and it may have taken all night, and we may have ended up at a McDonald’s as they were closing on one of the very first nights of Ramadan (so that our hosts could get in one last meal before the fast started up again—there’s a special Ramadan menu!), but we got to watch the sun rise over the medina, and that made it all worth it.
Here’s a painful truth: I haven’t been particularly interested in photography lately.
I’ve spent months wondering whether I chose the right career path and self-flagellating about my abilities as a photographer while my camera has gathered dust in a corner (figurative dust—I’m still doing the work, of course). We planned our honeymoon around some of the most beautiful locales in the world, and in doing so, I saw it as an opportunity for me to re-connect with one of my great loves.
We flew to Casablanca from JFK, where we immediately hopped a train to Marrakech. One of the first places we went after we dropped off our gear was to Jemaa El Fna, the local medina.
As expected, I was immediately inundated with photographic opportunities. But, in that first day, I found myself in several situations where I was rebuffed for taking a photograph—sometimes aggressively, and sometimes by people who were such a tiny part of a larger photograph that I didn’t even realize they were in the frame! There were a couple of instances in which I paid for the ability to make an image, but the time frame I had in which to get it was extremely limited (the snake charmers decided I hadn’t given them enough dirham and one thrust a snake at me).
The second day went similarly. I literally got yelled at for taking a photo of a dead fish in a supermarket.
It may be unclear, so I feel I should point out that I am, as a rule, a photographer who prefers to remain inconspicuous. Courtesy is important to me. I tend to keep my distance. If I want to make a portrait, I ask. Nothing exploitative.
Last night, on the way home after the fish debacle, I decided to try something a little different: I decided to shoot from the hip. I pulled the viewfinder away from my face and steadied it against my stomach, cradling the lens with my left hand, index finger of the right hand poised to click the shutter. I’m guessing I looked a lot like a scared white tourist afraid of having her camera snatched (not the case, though a local did make a point of telling me to keep my camera and bag in front of me at all times, so I guess I used his advice for my own purposes). Whatever the case, it worked. I came home with a set of images that, while not at all what I’d wanted or expected, I do really love.
I posted a confused Facebook status about all of it today (after getting rebuffed, yet again, by a guy driving a donkey cart before I’d even raised my camera to shoot them from behind as a part of a larger street scene—I mean, the thought was actually occurring to me as he was giving me the what-for). I live in a city where tourists are constantly snapping photos around me, and I’ve learned to turn my head or jump out of the way. I have definitely been the victim of at least one asshole tourist who got within two feet of me, took a picture of my chest tattoo, and walked away without a word. I feel like I have a solid understanding of how irritating it is to have people in your face all the time, but the feeling here is different. Figuring it was a cultural difference I hadn’t accounted for, I got to Googlin’ and found that Muslims, in general, are not fond of cameras (or tourists with them)—especially dSLRs—for various reasons I’m too lazy to write about right now. Good to know, given that we’ve got another week in Morocco. We’re leaving for Fes tomorrow.
I’m going to have to get creative.
I was just putzing around and looking through my files when I realized I never posted one of my favorite shots from 2014! Last March, Fel and I went to see Lorde play one of the last shows the Roseland Ballroom would ever see. We had a crappy spot off to the side of the stage, but I still managed to get this one frame. Later, we went to the back of the venue and danced our fool heads off. It was a good night.