Morocco is a multi-faceted country, with so much to photograph it could make your head spin! Here’s how Sarah Murphy and Stefaan du Pont of Miles and Miles chose to photograph their time in Marrakech, one of the country’s most popular cities.
Simple Moroccan Architecture
Because of the country’s location, Moroccan architecture has been influenced by many different cultures — which is what makes it so unique It’s a place where you can walk the streets and feel the history surrounding you, yet at the same time it’s just as relevant and alluring to the modern eye.
We were fascinated with the subtle neutral tones and pops of saturated color, and the symmetry of the buildings and entryways. It’s easy to get lost wandering the back streets of the medina and find yourself standing in front of a beautiful doorway with no one in sight. When shooting, we were constantly searching for solitude away from the chaos. Our hope is that if we can find it, our work portrays a sense of the calm we experienced.
The food in Morocco is some of the best we’ve ever had. The flavors and spices were enough to make our senses go wild. When we travel, we make sure to taste as much of the local cuisine as possible and we were certainly in heaven in Marrakech enjoying some of our favorite foods — tagine, couscous, and mint tea! Not only did the food taste unbelievable, it was candy for the eye as well.
You can easily see how the colors of the medina are reflected in the food and it made for many exciting photo opportunities. To us, it’s very important to capture the process of how the food is created and presented. We want the viewer to be able to imagine the taste and smell as they look at each photograph.
Inspiration is everywhere in Morocco. From the dye labs and metal shops to the textile souks in the medina, there is no shortage of handmade treasures to be found. As designers ourselves, we were captivated by the colors and patterns of the handmade crafts.
Our backgrounds in textiles and digital interface design often influences the way we interpret color, which translates into our photography. Although we have a tendency to keep our home and wardrobe very neutral and minimal, we were in heaven photographing the colorful palette of this incredible city.
We spent hours wandering the old city streets of Marrakech. It’s a winding maze of pink-washed walls, tiled mosaics, and arched doorways. Just one turn and the chaos of Djemma el Fna (the main square) quickly faded away. All of a sudden we felt like we’d stepped back in time, the hustle and bustle of tourists buying Moroccan rugs and trinkets, the sensory overload of spices and colors a distinct memory.
Exploring the medina is a taste of what life in Morocco is truly like. We captured images of children playing soccer in the narrow alleyways, stray cats eating leftover scraps, and locals enjoying one another’s company on their front steps. Every corner brought something new. It’s easy to get lost, but that’s the best part of the adventure!
We were in awe by the presentation of handcrafted goods in Marrakech. Every shop in the souks is set up differently by its owner, who may choose to showcase the creativity and pride of the Moroccan culture or reflect their individual style.
As much as we were excited about photographing the items for sale in the souks, we were just as interested in the people. After all, the people are what bring so much beauty to this incredible place. Out of respect for the culture, it’s important that you always ask permission before photographing someone. Nevertheless, this was an exciting opportunity to engage with some of the local people and learn more about what they do everyday.