I am at Essourai on the Atlantic Coast, it’s my first visit to a Muslim country and it’s fascinating, and after a very full on year engrossed in all things bang wallop, it’s a bit of a culture shock, well frankly it’s a shock just to have some time off..
Life in the medina where we are staying is full on, shops selling leather slippers of every colour next to a motorbike mechanic shop, black with grime and oil, next to butchers with rows of carcasses hanging out, interspersed with spice sellers crouched on their haunches over sacks full of herbs and spices; the further you venture in away from the fortified walls and main tourist drag, the more, “local” it becomes, carts laden with tomatoes, pomegranates, mountains of mint, and the hawkers shouting, women shrouded in black, some wearing full face veils and beautiful hooded jellabas. Scooters weave in and out, porters pushing carts, donkeys and pony carriages. Its like stepping back into the Middle Ages, that sounds patronising as it is a modern country but there is much that has not changed for hundreds of years, the souk shopping experience makes our UK brand shopping experience seem bland, featureless and soulless by comparison.
The food is incredible, particularly the fish… Not surprising as Essouria is home to the third largest fishing port in Morroco, the harbour has to be seen to be believed, hundreds of identical blue heavy wooden boats, using identical maroon coloured nets, crammed into the old harbour, the fishermen are… the sort of fisherman you want to photograph, baiting their hooks with fish, surrounded by pristine white gulls and many pregnant cats, I got there too late last night to take any serious shots and also had no change to offer in return for pointing my camera in their direction, but I am going back armed, slightly regretting not having my SLR.
Taking pictures here is not easy, you either have to be prepared to part with money or offend, it will certainly draw unwanted attention the minute you put the camera to your face. But it is a photographic dream, I have, as ever really enjoyed using Instagram. It has the familiar square format of a medium format camera and the focal length of a standard 50 lense, I find it forces me to make the wider scene work, all to often we zoom in, and yet our natural field of vision is often the most successful when translated into an image, keeping it true simple and pure. I love being able to instantly process, no downloading, importing or exporting a true snap, hassle free shooting, I know the quality is shocking but it satisfies the desire to capture, I like to set myself the challenge of making every shot count, which is how we should all shoot all of the time.
Here are some of my Morrocan Instagram faves
That’s all for now