I just got back from spending a week in Marrakech, learning about travel photography (as opposed to general photography which I have been doing for most of my professional life). I have to say it was one of the more intense weeks of my life. A barrage of sights, sounds and smells – in a good way (mostly); from the main square, Jmaa el Fna, with its cacophony of traders and snake charmers, to the darkened corners of covered souks, where as a lone woman, it definitely felt like there was safety in numbers.
I was there with my OH as part of a group, led by Stephen Studd www.digitalphotographyholidays.com exploring how my garden and landscape work could translate into a slightly more adventurous perspective. Turns out it’s not that different, but there are subtle distinctions: more emphasis on the simple and graphic, for example:
My ‘best bit’, though, was learning how to approach total strangers on the street and asking permission to photograph them. Previously, on various holidays, I’d always wimped out and missed the images. Stephen was very patient and very empowering – the essence (in my mind anyway) of a great teacher.
We took a day out in the nearby Atlas Mountains, and here the landscape came to the fore.
My favourite part was arriving footsore and weary, at our Berber guide’s home, where his wife and mother had prepared the best tagine I have ever tasted. It felt really special to be an invited guest, right down to the customary washing of hands before we all dug into a common plate with bread and fingers.
And I guess this was the measure of my experience. The sights and sounds were amazing but talking to the people: course members, souk traders, riad staff, people in cafes and restaurants, made this week truly memorable.