Field Trip: Exploring the traditions of Morocco with Joy Zamora

Field Trip: Exploring the traditions of Morocco with Joy Zamora

All photos from this sponsored Field Trip are courtesy of Joy Zamora. All photos were edited with the Summit presets.


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I went to Morocco looking for the remains of my own culture. I’m Spanish but I live in the south, in a region called Andalusia that was under  Muslim influence for more than 800 years. I have always thought that a big part of our own culture and traditions came from that time, including gastronomy, architecture, arts...

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That’s why I decided to visit Marrakech, a vibrant, exotic and really picturesque city.  This city has become a massive market, a giant maze where you can easily get lost between rug sellers, smokey food stands, and extraordinarily insistent shop merchants.

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However, I didn’t want to explore only the touristic part of Marrakech. I was here to get deep into the traditions, the culture and the way of living for the locals... one location I had in mind was the tanneries.  This is where the Berbers (a local tribe from the desert) work the leather.

This visit was a crazy experience--the tannery is basically a massive square full of pools with different chemical products that smell like hell. I cannot say it’s a pretty place. It is not, but to see how hard these people work in order to create a piece of material is just stunning.

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We also visit the neighborhood of dyes, where there are thousands of powerful colours that they use in their clothes, decoration and every single aspect of their lives. It was a really spiritual moment. They invited us to have the typical mint tea and smoke with them. I could see the genuine hospitality that it is shared all over the country, as much as in my region. This is definitely a piece of our culture that comes from them.

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The next day we were really tired of the many kilometres we had walked the day before, so we spent the afternoon in the massive Jemaa el Fna Square. No words can describe how busy, crazy and beautiful this place is.  This small area is the pulse of the rest of the city. Monkeys jump on top of your head, cobras dance under the spell of desert men, children box for a few dollars, and tricksters try to scam you with their strange games. It is definitely an experience that everyone should have once.

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The last day was a shopping day. Shopping is an art form over there. Let me explain you a bit: it's all about bargaining, and if you're not prepared for it, you better not get near to a shop! Moroccans are experts in this old sales tradition. If you’re a tourist, their eyes will shine, as they know they can ask you for far more money than the product actually costs. And this is where you have to stand strong, try to make a poker face and start getting the price to come down. It is not easy but if you are consistent, you’ll get it. This is certainly another skill that they left behind for us in Spain.

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Marrakech is just a stunning city, you can get lost there over and over again and you’ll love it every single time. It's a place to experience with all your senses.

In this field trip I used the Canon Mark IV and the 35mm L. 1.4 and the 24mm. 1.4 from Sigma.