The Moroccan Experience


I left Turkey en route to Morocco. My destination? Casablanca. The land below, seen from my bird’s eye view from the aeroplane window, was littered with an abundance of pastel colours. At this point I could already feel another blur of culture, colour and people coming on.

Photos & Words: Pearce Leal

I touched down in Casablanca and quickly left the copious amounts of traffic and strange smells emanating from the streets behind me and found myself traveling long distances to discover cities painted in every colour under the sun, with cultures that were as rich as the colours that surrounded them.

I ventured to chains of mountains, taking me high into the snow. These mountains would eventually become sand and all of a sudden I found myself in the Sahara Desert riding a camel to a nomadic Berber camp where I indulged in mint tea, after mint tea.

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My Camel unaptly titled No. 2742 waited for another tourist to climb aboard and be thrown around the Sahara desert.

I clambered on and off we went. After I managed not to crash 2742 we arrived at our vehicle, a set of 4 x 4’s, which lay in wait for delivery towards the coastline. City after city, village after village shit became more hectic as I immersed myself into the happenings inside the souks and medinas as I continued towards the coast.

I found there was so much going on in these crammed, overpopulated cities and villages. Roosters, chickens, cats, dogs, donkeys and god knows what else could be heard and smelt in the distance as I wandered the streets. Shop owners yelled at each other from across the walkways whilst the poor clamber at feet in search of a cigarettes, all whilst trying to sell the “best” Hashish in Morocco.

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Shooting cultures, and more so people is easily one of the most difficult forms of photography.

I love taking photographs of people, culture & general happenings, but Morocco has easily been the hardest place I’ve ever taken photographs in my life. It was a super weird experience walking the streets trying to capture my surroundings. If I had a camera or two on my shoulder (which 90% of the time I did) I would get these sneers and glares from people all over the joint. Even lifting my camera to shoot, looking in someone’s direction would inherently set off a spout of Arabic words that would end with “NO PHOTO!!”.

It’s super unnatural being constantly watched all the time but I guess that’s basically what I’m doing when I’m lurking around with my camera. To get more candid I started shooting from the hip. Personally for me I find this form of photography allows me to portray what’s going on in a more natural state, blending in as if I’m just another oblivious tourist passing on by..

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