Marrakech, the name itself evokes exotic images of narrow alleys and souks, with mysterious spices, snake charmers, polyrhythmic and hypnotic music, street hassles, and decorative architecture – often hidden behind modest doorways in the ancient medina.
All of this is true, but there is the mass of tourism, the constant baiting to buy goods, and haggle for prices. The competition for customers is very high, particularly around Jemaa el-Fna, the colossal square filled with outside eateries, snake charmers & guys pushing monkeys and snakes in your face. Groups of musicians form, competing with each other for listeners and donations and as a result the sounds overlap in a chaotic way, adding to the sensory overload. It is loads of fun, I decided to smile and bring my sense of humour and I think this helps process the scene.
From a street photography perspective, Marrakesh is extremely photogenic, but you must be aware and respect that the locals often do not want their photo taken. Perhaps after a transaction or if you sit or engage in a scene long enough some opportunities present themselves.
Initially struggling, I garnered ideas at an exhibition at La Maison de la photographie de Marrakech, a small photography museum in the city with many old black and white images of the locals. This inspired me to look at the city differently and to process in black and white..
Not only were the photo’s fascinating, but what struck me was how much of the city looked the same more than a century later, how the city has probably not changed for hundreds of years in many ways. When you see donkey-driven carts and hear the call to prayer as you walk the narrow streets, when spices and perfumes fill your nostrils at every turn, you forget the tourism hassle, and realise Marrakech is authentic, and extremely fascinating.
Images shot with Fujifilm X100F and edited on Snapseed on Android tablet.