One of the reasons I love my job is that it gives me the chance to travel. I love being in the middle of a scene that’s new to me, or a place I’ve never been before. I like being on the move and in between one thing and another. It’s a crazy lifestyle, but one that gets my heart pumping and brings out some of the work I’m most proud of in my many years as a photographer.
But I rarely get out and around in the world in pure vacation mode. (Hence the 'vacation' photos above)
After the craziness of this past year—particularly the Bastille photobook but also all the other crazy projects, from South Africa to the US and with Rag ‘N’ Bone Man and Unmade in Ireland in between—I felt I needed a holiday.
So I booked a flight to Morocco and, because this is how I am, I took my camera along with me (I also took along Bastille Photobook writer/editor/project manager Katie Dwyer).
Morocco is beautiful, and is like stepping into an alternate reality/time warp. Katie informs me she witnessed a man texting while driving a donkey cart in heavy traffic. That about sums up the nature of the place: cultures, contexts, and life experiences all piled next to each other in a kind of jumble.
We also saw everything from Marrakech to abandoned kasbahs, from the Moroccan Sahara to the High Atlas Mountains. I am really, really happy with some of the shots I got along the way.
Portraits and People
As a rule, I usually don’t take pictures of people’s faces without their permission. This is particularly true in places like Morocco, where it is so common for foreigners with nice cameras to wander around, snapping photos of the locals with little regard to their comfort or wishes (it was clear that most people I encountered did not want to be photographed).
So the portraits I took were of people I explicitly asked. And if I caught a few sneaky people photos out the windows of a car or from a restaurant vantage-point… I hope I will be forgiven.
I found the whole of the experience overwhelming, inspiring, and almost numbing in the variety and emotional responses to the place. Even after a few days, I’m still trying to process seeing snake charmers in the streets, standing in the ancient city that was used as the set of Gladiator, and waking up in deafening silence in a nomad tent with the Milky Way clearly visible overhead. The only live music I photographed was Berber drumming/singing around the campfire. It was wonderful to be on a road that included camels. It was nice to take photos that caught my eye, answering to no one’s interest but my own. And I am now back in Dublin, feeling inspired to get back to work on all the various projects that bring so much to my life…including the chance to have such an incredible adventure.