Photographer at Jemaa el-Fnaa, Marrakesh, Morocco.

No trip to Morocco is complete without spending some time at Jemaa el-Fnaa, the Mosque at the End of the World.  Jemaa el-Fnaa is a large public square serving two separate functions – during the day, Jemaa el-Fnaa is occupied by roving street performers, monkeys and their trainers, dancing cobras and other spectacularly wild characters.  At night, the square fills with food vendors and hawkers attempting to steer would-be customers to their stalls.

Our favorite feature?  Easily the fresh orange juice vendors.  Try the “melange” – ooh la la!

Photographers roam the square offering to capture tourists’ and locals’ experiences alike.  A monkey scaring the living daylights out of your six year old daughter?  A local photographer has you covered.

Many of the photographers utilize modern Polaroid cameras, the remainder using film SLRs.  If my Arabic was better, I could talk with these guys for hours.  Where do they process their film?  1+1 dilution or stock?  🙂

I approached a number of the local photographers and attempted to cobble together a request that I gather was novel to them – “may I take your picture?”.  Some of the photographers said “no”, though the rest were receptive and generally positive if not a little curious as to why I would want to photograph them.

These photographers are out there grinding.  All through the day and well after the sun goes down, they are out there beating the street and trying to make a few coins.  I empathize with them – they “eat what they kill”, one street portrait at a time.

It’s about time that these guys get some recognition.  Despite the fact that they don’t have to wrangle monkeys all day, these guys work pretty hard.  Throw ’em a bone next time you’re at the End of the World.

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