Texture in Morocco – Film Photography

September 4, 2014

Earlier in the Summer I had the pleasure in visiting Morocco for two weeks staying in Marrakech at the beautiful Riad Ka within the Medina. I knew that I wanted to take pictures whilst in Morocco but also knew that I didn’t want to experience the whole trip through the lens of a dslr. With a dslr in tow it can be tempting to spend too long perfecting shots whilst ignoring moments by tweaking settings and reviewing shots more than soaking up the atmosphere. Instead, I took with me an old Olympus Trip 35 that I picked up in a charity shop as well as a Rolleiflex 2.8D twin lens along with a bunch of 35mm and 120 Kodak film.

Shooting film meant that I had to make shots count so as not to use up all of my film, but also, to allow the moment to live on that frame without over shooting as is often tempting with the digital format. The grain found in film adds to the images and compliments the colours and texture of the city’s stone walls and streets.

During our stay we sampled local food at restaurants in the city as well as indulging in more international cuisine along with cocktails at amazing terrace restaurant bars. I can recommend I Limoni, Cafe Arabe, Terasse Des Epices and le Jardin which are stunning. Also worth a mention for a quick and cheap meal is the vegan Earth Cafe which offer exceptional local flavours. An absolute ‘must visit’ is Jardin Majorelle, a beautiful garden and museum which was bought by Yves Saint Laurent in 1980 when up for sale and due to be turned into an hotel.

We hired a car and made a 12 hour road trip from Marrakech via the Atlas Mountains and Ouarzarzate down to the Sahara Desert at Merzouga. Here we stayed at a fantastic Kasbah Ksar Sania before riding camels through the dunes with a brilliant guide named Omar to a Berber camp to sleep in a bivouac under the stars.

If you aren’t confident driving abroad it is worth advising that the roads in places are far from smooth with a LOT of potholes and the occasional sand drifts making visibility difficult. There are plenty of bus tours available. Upon our return to Marrakech from the desert drive we were glad of some chill out time when we booked in to the legendary hotel La Mamounia. There, we had a world class three course meal, swimming pool, spa massage and traditional Hamam treatment. The hotel which opened in 1929 underwent a $140 million refurbishment in 2009 and is truly magnificent. Winston Churchill, Sharon Stone, Elton John, Omar Sharif, The Rolling Stones and Alfred Hitchcock have all been guests, to name a few. You can read more about this paradise in Vanity Fair here.

Marrakech really is a vibrant place full of culture, amazing shopping in the Souks, art, craft, friendly people and warm sun (temps ranging from 35-45 degrees in June!). I didn’t shoot a great deal of images but the ones I have in my mind will stay with me. You can see more from the trip here as well as some snaps on my Instagram here.

1 comment

  1. Comment by Brian Howden

    Brian Howden Reply September 4, 2014 at 1:47 pm

    Must have been a wonderful experience ~ such a different culture.
    And the trip into the desert…awesome. I’ve always wanted to spend a night in a desert ~ any desert…..there would be a very different Earth energy in such a place.
    Great photos here and others you’ve shown me. I live the grainy texture on film (especially when you shoot on monochrome film)…..just like that crackle on old 78 records that makes the experience of listening more real in a way….more organic.

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