As I alluded to earlier, I recently completed a multi-day assignment and am thrilled to share the results. I covered United States Attorney General Eric Holder’s visit to Morocco where he attended and spoke at the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery and met with numerous local officials.
I met Attorney General Holder’s advance team prior to his arrival and received my assignment as well as motorcade schedule. (“Motorcade schedule” = “AWESOME / is this really happening?”) My assignment was a mix of introductions / hand-shakes, candid images and coverage of speeches and press conferences. Attorney General Holder’s first appointments were at the Arab Forum on Asset Recovery (AFAR) in Marrakech, a conference dedicated to recovering assets stolen from Arab countries in transition. I was pleased to hear that the events were being held at the Palmerarie Golf Palace, as I was already familiar with the location and layout of the conference center and could plan accordingly.
I quickly fell in to the rhythm of the event and was able to predict where Attorney General Holder would stand during introductions. Attorney General Holder didn’t mind taking a small measure of direction from me when I suggested that we avoid any posed photographs against the conference room walls (in my opinion, an out of focus ugly background is a heck of a lot nicer than a totally discernible / in focus ugly background – call me crazy). I was relieved that the Attorney General was so easy-going with me and all of my (respectfully made) photography-related requests – it’s not everyday that an attorney is in the position to offer direction to the United States Attorney General.
I covered the meetings and promptly moved to the next location for coverage of the speeches concluding the forum, cursing myself for not having a 70-200mm lens in my kit. I made due with an non-stabilized 85mm, auto-ISO taking me far into into values that I normally shy away from.
Immediately after the remarks concluded and the brief press conference ended, I joined the dash for the motorcade and covered the airplane taking off. I spent most of my car ride back to Rabat examining the day’s photographs and marking the keepers.
The next day was a blur of events, coverage taking me across Rabat and Sale and continuing well into night. The second day of coverage included Attorney General Holder addressing the future judges at the Judicial Institute and ended at an event where he met Mustafa Ramid, the Moroccan Minister of Justice. I was pleased to photograph the event and am astounded at the access that I enjoyed throughout the evening. Minister of Justice Ramid was very polite and I cannot overstate his and his staff’s warmth and hospitality.
I followed the delegation throughout the next day until their plane left Rabat, a moment known as “wheels up” within the USG community. Despite the constant running around (and carrying a small case of photographic equipment throughout the visit), I was sorry to see Attorney General Holder and his delegation leave. I enjoyed covering the Attorney General’s visit to Morocco and was impressed by his and his delegation’s kindness and patience for me throughout their time here.
I cannot overstate how excited I am to have covered Attorney General Holder’s visit to Morocco and thank all of the parties involved for the opportunity.