It is Fine Art Photography Friday again and this San Antonio wedding photographer is ready to show you some more of my fine art photography. Today’s image is from my trip to Marrakech, Morocco. This was part of my 5 1/2 week long trip to Paris, France and Africa. You can read more about my Paris excursion in the Fine Art Photography Friday – Paris blog post. While I was over in Paris I thought that it would be a great opportunity to visit Morocco. Marrakech is only a 3 hour plane ride away and I had never been to North Africa before. The city of Marrakech is an amazing place. I stayed in the Old City where it seems that time stands still. The Old City is still surrounded by walls and the people and life inside seem frozen in times. It is a very exotic place and remains one of my favorite places in the world, and I have been all over the world. There are so many interesting things to photograph, but it is challenging because you cannot just freely photograph people on the street. Like many other cultures the Moroccans did not like to be photographed, for various reasons. So you pretty much have to asked everyone if you can take their picture, and you have to ask in either French or Arabic. Not everyone on the street knows french which was my language of choice during this entire trip. Many days I was “shooting from the hip“, literally with my camera over my shoulders. I would position myself sideways to my subject and them press the shutter button. I was able to get some very unique and interesting results using this method. Nowadays, with newer technology, I could actually use my smartphone to view through my camera and trigger it. But many of the street vendors are onto the “photographing without looking” trick and some of them will stop you, but others did invite me to freely photograph them.
Wandering around the old city of Marrakech you can get lost easily in the maze of alleys and streets. People warned me about getting lost but what they did not know was that I wanted to get lost as it gave me a change to explore all parts of this unique city in my favorite reportage style. In this style you sort of wander around the streets looking for photographs. This style is perfect when exploring ancient and visually wonderful places. While I was there, which was in July, it was hot. Did I mention that it was hot, really hot, like 110 degree hot. And you are not supposed to expose your arms or legs in public so I was wearing a long sleeve shirt and long pants whenever I was outside.
I stayed in a ryad/riad. This is a traditional Moroccan house with an open courtyard in the middle. There is usually beautiful tile work and a fountain in the middle of the open space. One of the amazing things about these riads is that from the street the houses are all very plain, earthen walls, and doors, but inside is where the beauty of these houses shine. The courtyard has a lovely cooling effect because of the long periods of shade and the updrafts that are created within the structure. It reminds be a little of haciendas. These interior spaces are an oasis from the streets.
The city is full of traditional vendors lining some streets. There is no refrigeration at these vendors, and it was a little scary to see eggs and meat just sitting out in the hot day with plenty of flies around. It was times like this that I am glad to be a vegetarian.
The image above was taken at the famous Djemaa El-Fna, a large square with hundreds of vendors at night. During the day is a vast open space but at night it changes over into restaurant and vendor stalls. I had the best vegetarian lentil soup there that I have even had. It is amazing to watch the transformation that takes place every evening as hundreds of vendors set up and then take down their places of business before midnight. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
When taking this photograph I was being very clandestine in my approach so that I would not be noticed by the vendors. Part of my fine art documentary style of photography is that I do not like to interact with my subjects. This gives me a more natural look. This is the same approach that I use in my fine art documentary wedding photography. I really love the color and the mysterious nature of the event and this is what it looked like standing there. With the low light it was a challenge to create this image. But I always like to challenge my photography skills and to produce work that I have never made before.
As a San Antonio wedding photographer this is the approach that I like to add into my work. The more hands off I am with my images on the wedding day, the better I think that results are. I will be posting more images from my adventures in Morocco in the future. Stay tuned.
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