I landed in Marrakech this morning. From the very moment i entered the walls of the old Medina I couldn’t help but feeling
inside a 1001 nights Fairytale! My Riad is adorable! I made friend with the manager, Adil, who was so nice to give a tour of the old Souks while chatting Life and Philosophy. Here, depending on where you look you can feel like you’re moving backwards or forwards in time, it’s so primordial yet so contemporary at the same time. The streets are crowded, loud, intense the Medina is colorful, raw,authentic. You can smell 1001 different spices in the air and you can even smell old magic in the walls! I’m so happy to be here and excited to start my Quest for Beauty tomorrow!
So apparently photographing women here is not as easy as i would have thought! I spent the whole day wondering in the
Medina trying to get some portraits but i got back to my riad tonight empty handed. The language barrier was brutal. It makes me realize how much more I should learn. I
approached countless women today but nobody wanted to be in front of the camera. They didn’t trust me, i don’t blame them! I took a few random shots around the souk but that’s not what I’m here for. Next round tomorrow, i’m sure i will get some nice shots, today just wasn’t meant to be.
*NOTE TO SELF: don’t worry about the lack of planning and resources, trust your instinct, it always brings you where you need to be!
I finally got 2 of the 5 potraits I needed! It wasn’t easy though. I made friend with an amazing French-Moroccan girl, Leila, that walked around with me all day and helped me translate. I managedto photograph this beautiful woman that was selling little stuffed animals in an alley behind the souk. [*SIDENOTE: I almost got robbed while i was shooting by two guys on a scooter that tried to snitch my camera, I had a book in my hand (“Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert ironically) and i hit one of them with it instinctually—not very smart choice as it could have end up horribly—but luckily they just moved forward and left. Lesson learnt: don’t hang out in dodgy alleys! ] She’s selling little stuffed camels in the street to make money to send her son to school, her name is Jamila. Poverty unfortunately is heartbreakingly spread around here. Seeing that first hand makes me question what the hell is the world doing to itself these days!
Today i took a trip to Essaouira, a beautiful old town by the sea that used to be called Mogador. I left at 6AM this
morning. The driver stopped half way to have breakfast, i got some breakfast as well but I ended up giving it all to a poor underfed cute dog that was standing in front of me with the saddest look in his eyes, I wish i could have brought him home with me 😢
The colors in this country are unbelievable. This city has the most beautiful blue tones, it’s one of the prettiest things I’ve ever
No luck on getting women to pose for me unfortunately. My time here is almost already
over and I need 3 more portraits to stay on track with the goals i set for this project, i would lie if i’d say i wasn’t a bit nervous, but i trust in magic to happen in the next few days!
And Magic happened indeed! Yesterday my new friend, Adil, let me go with him to his native village (about 1 hour away deep in the mountains outside Marrakech) Agadir, what an amazing place! I felt like I was lost in time. I got a tour of the village, it was eye opening and refreshing to see how people had so little there yet they were so happy. Everybody was incredible! they were all so welcoming and kind. Adil’s mother and other women made lunch for everybody (amazing food btw) and after we ate I started walking around the village taking portraits. Because Adil knew everybody it was much easier to make a connection with the women and girls in front of my lens, they trusted me and I was able to take some beautiful portraits because of that. My Quest for Beauty in this part of Morocco was over, i finally got all the portraits I needed and i realized this project was already becoming more important to me than i thought it would ever be when I first started thinking of it.
*PHOTOGRAPHY NOTE: The relationship with your subject is everything in the outcome of a shot! I was surrounded by kids following me
around all day—and although I’m not great with kids—it was really nice to see the enthusiasm in their eyes when i would show them the back of my camera. That’s what I’m missing with my fashion work, the beautiful, intense and REAL human connection.
All the bullshit in the world, all the fakeness and the useless formalism disappears when you make this kind of connection, it was magical!
I’m at the airport waiting for my gate to open. Yesterday I finally had the day to myslef to enjoy Marrakech and i spent it wondering around the medina getting lost in it as much as i could (and looking for something special to bring back to NYC to remember this beautiful adventure) . So now my bag is full of beautiful old notebooks i bought and my heart is full of love and new life thanks to the beautiful people i encountered and the wonderful things I saw throughout this trip.
When I told people I was coming here by myself they scared the hell out of me! Most people told me I was crazy and irresponsible, that Morocco was not a safe place for a (blonde, white) girl, traveling by herself with expensive equipment…some even told me I would be kidnapped, or killed! I’m so happy to say they had no idea what the fuck they were talking about!! Fear and prejudice are more dangerous than going to a new country by yourself. They can stop people from living amazing and necessary experiences that allow them to grow into better human beings. Life isn’t fully lived without experiencing the world!
Thank you Morocco, thank you for your old Magic!