Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Moroccan colours

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(all images by me)

Three years ago The Boy and I spent 8 weeks in Morocco. We hadn't been together long, about 6 months. We had met at art school, both studying for photography degrees and neither of us liked it very much. So we ran away. We took a year off and for 6 months we saved every penny we could scrape together which wasn't very much as we were both rather ill at the time and unable to work the long hours we would have liked. 
When we had enough we hopped on a plane to Spain, grabbed a bus to Algeciras and with more excitement than I had ever known we boarded a ferry to Africa. 
We spent 8 weeks travelling around the country, very slowly. A lot of the time we spent very still, very quiet as we really were not too well. But oh how we loved it. The people so warm, the smells so exotic, the children so playful. The sun warming our weary bones and revitalising us, the colours inspiring us to love taking pictures again. 
Most people think of Morocco and see vivid bright sunshine colours, deep red ochres and rich north African blues. Those were the colours we photographed but in a moment of naive excitement we handed 15 rolls of film and too many of our carefully hoarded pennies into a Moroccan shop to be processed, the negatives we got back were all but ruined. Deep scratches ran through every image, the colours were faded and oddly tinted, our memories made blurry and distorted. I cried, The Boy shouted but our precious negatives were not to be repaired. 
How heartbreaking for a photographer to lose negatives, I can't even begin to describe...
In time however, I have grown to love the pictures that we trusted to that deceptively professional seeming shop in Taroudant. The colours are not accurate but the moments are ones we lived and loved and the watery images remind me of memory itself, faded and never quite exactly how the moment was in truth. And scratches can be removed, with patience and overpriced photo editing software.