Category: Morocco, 2019

Photographing, Beauty Tratments and on to Marrakech

March 10

In the morning, after breakfast, Carol and I go our separate ways.

I do a photographic tour that focuses on exploring photography within a Muslim culture and understanding the place that photography takes in an environment that appears both alluring yet mystical at the same time. The tour is tailored to my interests and is designed to capture people within the culture of the medina that can be difficult if done alone (I learned that yesterday). A professional local photographer, like Omar Chennafi, can help get the best locations, light and subjects.

Omar, 33, is quiet and unassuming. We move at a very leisurely pace. No rush. He shares a number of tips that help me to get better photos today. As useful as his photographic guidance proves, at least as enjoyable were the discussions we had about photography and art when we took breaks. Omar is working on a book documenting Fes in photos. I’m able to share experiences that Carol and I had in publishing our books. He’s also interested in the intersection between art and society so I discussed some work Carol and I may be getting involved in with original music written for four voices and Japanese calligraphy and painting.

Omar has become one of Morocco’s most well-known and loved professional photographers’” according to Moroccan World News. His photography has been featured in Time Magazine, The Huffington Post, and other publications worldwide. As well as being the official photographer for the World Sacred Music Festival in Fes, he works to create photography and art projects within the community to share his passion and skills. He is the curator of the Fes Gathering bringing international artists to Fes to join their African counterparts. The Fourth Edition in 2019 explored the role and challenges of arts with social responsibility in Morocco and the Arab world. As a well-known face in the Fes medina, Omar is able to open up the opportunities for portrait photography in the otherwise private world of the medieval alleyways.

Here are some photos I took, with Omar’s guidance this morning.Carol, meanwhile is brought into the world of ancient beauty secrets and where it all began in a session at a private home that unearths traditional methods and natural beauty. She is accompanied by a female member of the staff, who translates and facilitates.

Midday, we meet back at the hotel, relax a bit and the are driven to the Fes airport, where we take a 40-minute flight to Marrakech. At the airport, we are met by the two Youneses, who have driven to Marrakech, and taken our bags with them.

We drive straight to the square, the center of activity for Marrakech. We walk around the square and through some of the souk, before going to a rooftop coffee shot, where we can photograph some of the things we’ve seen below–snake charmers, monkeys with diapers, horse-drawn carriages, food of all kinds, gambling hustles, African singers, all for the benefit of the huge tourist population that Marrakech draws.

We check into a veritable hidden treasure, Riad Farnatchi, whose door opens into an elegant but true to form old-style riad in the heart of Marrakech’s medina. James Wix, an old-school British hotelier and his family have spent years honing the craft of ultimate hospitality mixed with old-style Moroccan tradition and welcome. The 10 suites all have different styles but are equally beautifully designed and centered around the classic courtyard water feature. There are dining rooms both ground floor and roof-top and with their newly appointed restaurant and spa in separate annexes they have everything to offer both the authenticity and comfort seeking guest. Below is a photo of our bedroom, which does not include the separate living room, the bathroom with tub and separate shower, the room in which the toilet is located or the private balcony we have with two chaise lounges. Tough, huh?

This evening, we have a delicious dinner at the hotel restaurant, located across the alley from the main hotel. We opt for traditional Morrocan cuisine and are not disappointed, either by the food or the service.


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