💖 Marrakesh loveProject

When hearts find you.


This one falls squarely on the “just happened to walk by” category, the one where most of my photos will be found.

I’ll have a very hard time finding stories as interesting or, at least, amusing, as I did for the first photos. This is, truly, the story behind most of the photos: “I walked by.” Luck plays an important role too.

Not on assignment, not trying to figure out what I’ll need for a story in the newspaper; not even part of a more commercial job, where a client needs to be happy with the result, or where the photos have to fit a certain request. None of that.

This is, in fact, my favourite way to shoot: grab a camera, walk around. See what comes up.

A photographer’s gift to the viewer is sometimes beauty in the overlooked ordinary — Saul Leiter

A few projects were born, throughout the years, with these walks. loveProject, beSeated, hugeAnnouncement, palmLove, xMarksTheSpot, helloYellow. Once I realize I have a few photos that share a common subject, others will just show up, by miracle. Everywhere.

loveProject was the first one, and it will always have a special place in my heart (Ha!). Finding hearts in places is an addiction, from simple, obvious one, to more abstract, hidden others.

This one presented itself in Marrakesh.

If there’s a place I can say I’ve gone to so many times I don’t even keep count anymore, that place is Morocco. I’ve been there over a dozen times, first visit taking place thirty years ago.

And here I found myself again, in Marrakesh. This time with movieStar, after a very quick flight over from Lisbon. She had never been, and booked the tickets without telling me. A surprise.

Photowalking alone is a hugely different experience than walking with someone else. I am very used to it with other photographers, but taking a civilian along can present a few challenges. Thankfully, movieStar is rather perfect there as well.

With little over a week in the country, Marrakesh was the first place on the list.

We had a room at a very lovely riad, and would spend most time in the medina, as one does when in the city. Plenty to keep us entertained in there. We would step out of the area to visit a couple of places I’d never been before, but were included in movieStar’s bucket list. Happy they were, as the venues were beautiful.

We strolled in the neighborhood I was familiar with. Visited the cafés with yummy ice-cream and orange juice, window shopped with gusto, shared the alleys with donkeys, followed robed men down tiny streets, tasted delicious treats, drank litters of mint tea and sweet orange juice, inhaled moped exhaust fumes mixed with the scent of a thousand spices.

And kept shooting my little Fuji camera while doing all that. No idea why, but a real camera came along for this one.

I have always found Morocco one of the hardest places to photograph. People, I mean. There is plenty to keep me interested, no lack of things to shoot. But people do not like to be included, and we have to respect that.

I am, however, always looking out for a way to get a shot (sorry, folks).

I’ll try to be discreet, and overly polite when people notice what I’m doing. And, sometimes, it does work. I do get a decent photo.

Going around the medina, once more, camera ready. I spotted the gentleman about to enter the building, a public bath house, if not mistaken. Moved in a bit closer, trying to get rid of a few distracting elements. The composition felt nice, I pressed the shutter again. The shoes were perfectly placed, the one thing to counter the almost symmetrical photo. Tiles, his position, every lined up.

Thankfully the hood of the djellaba made my job easier, he couldn’t see me standing next to him, but also it would have been impossible for anyone to identify him. It worked both ways. .

I moved on, happy.

Later on, while seating next to the fireplace at the riad, looking at the photos of the day, this is the one that made me smile with contentment.

And then came the surprise, the one thing I hadn’t noticed while I was shooting: this was also a loveProject photo! There was a heart in there!