Markets

I Had People Framed in Morocco - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

We got into Marrakesh late in the afternoon.  While searching for our riad* through the labyrinth of alleyways, I did not forget to make mental notes of the vendors, sitting at the bottom of the walls in dim light, each with their goods for sale on the ground in front of them.  In my highly-trained American eyes (I suppose there is such thing), that is a life-style that's miles different from ours and it is "so cool".

Well, what appears cool in spirit met its reality the next morning in the souk**.  Immediately after I framed an image of a person quietly making handicrafts, the guy sitting across the narrow street "reported" it to him and I got an unpleasant face and a few words.  Yes, amidst the excitement of being in a country of far-flung culture, language and religion, I completely forgot what I read before the trip, that Moroccan people do not like being photographed.  But honestly speaking, I did not envision this and the escalated reactions we met later in the trip.  


“There’s no way I can take a camera and just do street photography in Morocco. People will get aggressive.” Reading the words of the late French-Moroccan photographer Leila Alaoui after the trip only confirms the challenges we ran into and did nothing in comforting the mixed emotions at the time.

But, I was once described as a daisy that keeps being run over by trucks and yet keeps popping back up (Thank you, Cara!).  Although I consider myself prettier than a daisy, if I ever am a flower, the tough little daisy continued showing her resilience as the trip unfolded.  Before the end of trip, I managed to have people framed in this way. :p

 

Framed-in-the-Market-Fes-Morocco-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Framed-in-the-Market-Fes-Morocco-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Magnum photographer Jim Goldberg was once commission, along with four others from the renowned agency, to report live from the ground in Marrakesh.  After meeting resistance from people being photographed, in desperation, he started shooting a few frames of a horse that happened to be passing. Suddenly a guy appeared and said: "No! Stop! My horse does not want to be photographed."

Ummm, I hope the camel in my image does not mind being photographed...

*A riad is a traditional Moroccan house or palace with an interior garden or courtyard.  To learn more about a Moroccan riad, please read here.
** A souk is a traditional market Western Asian and North African cities.  To learn more, please click this link.

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Morocco, Part 1 of Many - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

The imagined exoticism of Morocco brought us there.  What we learned in three weeks though only adds to the complexity that this country falls nothing short of in people, culture and history.

For the sake of being fair and of providing balanced perspective on this country, I will let my images do the speaking.  This is one time where I struggle to put thoughts into words and resort to what I do better anyway.  This time, it's not a matter of preference, it's necessity.      

Woman-in-Souk-of-Marrakesh-Morocco-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Woman-in-Souk-of-Marrakesh-Morocco-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

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This Happened to Me The First Time in My Travels - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

It took some investigating at the bus station to make sure we got on the right bus.  After all, the bus ride that goes into the mountainous area takes four hours and we'd prefer getting off at the planned location when it made the final stop. :-)

At a place where we don't speak Spanish and they don't speak (much, if at all) English, it's back to sign language and basic expressions.  People were really nice and tried to help.  At times, we thought they were going to the same place as we were and tried to have us follow suit.  But there was no way to be sure, until we met a duo of sister and brother.  The sister took a look at our tickets and made a clear enough gesture to let us know we can follow them.  

They carried school backpacks and looked like they were going home for the weekend.  Turned out, their seats were right in front of us, which allowed the younger brother to peek back in between the seats from time to time.  Yes, we look very different from what they have seen in their young lives. :-)  

The way we plan our travels made sure all trips provide visual feasts.  However, a weekend spent in this remote town did something I did not realize until the day we left.  When the bus destined for city took off, I felt something wet rolling down my cheeks.  This had never happened before in my travels.  I only had it happen again when leaving a small town on top of a mountain in the Umbria area of Italy recently. 

Senior-Lady-in-Traditional-Costume-Buying-Cala-Lilies-in-Sunday-Market-of-Cuetzalan-Mexico-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Senior-Lady-in-Traditional-Costume-Buying-Cala-Lilies-in-Sunday-Market-of-Cuetzalan-Mexico-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

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