Marrakesh

Beauty in the Eyes of Beholder - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

Ben Youssef Medersa in Marrakesh, Morocco, was once one of the largest theological colleges in North Africa.  At the entrance when we were ready to admire the touted Islamic architecture, I turned around.  My eyes lit up as if they've seen gold.  But wait, there's a guy taking photograph of his girl friend, occupying all the vantage points for my gold.  So I decided to wait a little.  So I waited.  And I waited...  And... still waiting...

When I realized that they were having a full-on portrait session, I caught a break in their flow of poses and got what I wanted.  Yes, the beauty in my eyes, at that moment, was the old man. :-)

What's the beauty that you are beholding at this moment?

Old-Man-at-Ben-Youssef-Medersa-Marrakesh-Morocco-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Old-Man-at-Ben-Youssef-Medersa-Marrakesh-Morocco-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

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Who Let the Cats Out? - Los Angeles Travel Photographer

There isn't much talk about the French painter Jacques Majorelle who put 40 years into creating Jardin Majorelle in Marrakesh, Morocco.  There has been a lot of talk about how Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé purchased the garden in 1980.  Probably for that reason, the garden is one of the most visited sites in Morocco.  And for that reason alone, we weren't going to visit the site.  One, I never did and was not interested in owning a YSL item (no offense to YSL).  Two, a garden is not meant to be enjoyed with so many others that are rubbing shoulders with you on a constant basis.

Well, that changed when we realized that the painter's studio is now a museum dedicated to Berber culture (note: Berber, a.k.a., Amazigh.  More on them later).  

Berber-Museum-Jardin-Majorelle-Marrakesh-Morocco-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Berber-Museum-Jardin-Majorelle-Marrakesh-Morocco-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Boy, speaking of being mentally under-prepared!  Despite the scorching sun, lines for tickets were so long that it's as if fans of YSL were waiting outside one of its flagship stores for its new season debut.  Following a successful acquisition of the tickets to entrance, it's an upstream battle to fight our way through the crowd, endure the kids' screaming at the group of fish, and the pond that they are in, and get out of way of the selfie aficionado and selfie sticks.  

Finally, the museum was in-sight, along with its ever-so-inspiring colors, textures and shapes.  Oh, wait, all that inspiration has to wait.  It has to wait for more selfies and waves of them.  For an "abstract fine art" that I made above, I assure you, it was not an easy task.  

Seriously, who let the cats out?

Girl-Group-Selfie-Jardin-Majorelle-Marrakesh-Morocco-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

Girl-Group-Selfie-Jardin-Majorelle-Marrakesh-Morocco-Copyright-Jean-Huang-Photography

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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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