Photo project

Evgeniy Maloletka’s Travels through Morocco

Ukrainian photographer Evgeniy Maloletka, preparing for the worst, set off for Morocco and is convinced that it’s not dangerous at all there, and the country even has a few places that seem like Amsterdam.

Evgeniy Maloletka Age 28

Ukrainian freelance photographer, born in Berdyansk (Zaporozhie Oblast), lives in Kiev. Works in conjunction with Vesti.Reportyor journal and AP Images agency.

I expected to run into evil Moroccans first at the airport; they were supposed to take away my camera. After all, the embassy had warned me that I could only take a compact camera with me, and yet they didn’t take it away.

It wasn’t hard to find and reserve hotels, either. I reserved a room a few days before heading there and sometimes, right after stepping off of an inter-city bus, the locals on the spot approached me with offers for short-stay rooms.

Morocco is a former French colony and they speak French and a little English, but they have always understood body language. I was able to use my hands and my telephone to ask for prices or how to get from point A to point B. The majority of tourists in Morocco are French and it’s easier for them to communicate with locals.

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_14.jpg”, “text”:”A fair in the center of Ouled-Sidi Mukhtar, a small town, formed a five-kilometer traffic jam.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_15.jpg”, “text”:”A cooperative of leather dyers in Fez is comprised of 240 people and is the largest in Morocco. This craft is much more harmful than mining.”}

The food in this country is not very diverse and those who love eating delicious food will have a hard time finding it. The people everywhere offering tajine might just drive you crazy. There was no talk of any Greek or Caesar; for salad they offered two tablespoons of tomatoes cut with onion. Orange juice was everywhere in unlimited supply.

Fishermen caught all kinds of marine life that I had never seen before, and it could be grilled up for you right in the market. There in Essaouira, on the Atlantic side, you could swim and go surfing.

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_11.jpg”, “text”:”A strong wind drove a bunch of fat seagulls to the port of Essaouira.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_12.jpg”, “text”:”Essaouira. A fisherman lays out a net on the pier.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_13.jpg”, “text”:”Bazaar at the port of Essaouira.”}

All foreigners living in hotels in the Old City (Medineh) have played the game called “Find your hotel.” To avoid getting lost in the labyrinth of old houses you need skill and a good visual memory because maps and GPS devices are useless. Morocco looks like one big never-ending bazaar with rugs, slippers and souvenirs. They make it and sell it on the spot. Craft shops are everywhere and the colors will bring joy to your eyes. Everything outside of the Medineh is different: new homes, clean buses and expensive restaurants.

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_01.jpg”, “text”:”Square at the spice market in the medineh (old city) in Marrakech.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_02.jpg”, “text”:”A Moroccan beats a pattern into tiles in the crafts quarter in Marrakech.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_03.jpg”, “text”:”Goods at the market.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_04.jpg”, “text”:”A woman in an abaya walks through the market in Marrakech.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_05.jpg”, “text”:”Tourists stroll through the Ben Youssef Madrasa, a former center of studies, which is located next to the main mosque in the old city of Marrakech.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_06.jpg”, “text”:”Reproductions by Moroccan artists at one of the stalls in Marrakech.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_07.jpg”, “text”:”An entertainment center in the heart of the medineh.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_08.jpg”, “text”:”This is the usual width of a street in the medineh; a couple of motorcycles can find a way to pass through, but cars are practically not allowed to enter.”}

Transport between cities is pretty good: there are comfortable buses and trains with air conditioning. There are also buses for locals, but it’s not even close to traveling through India. In this area it’s all good in Morocco.

I was going around all the time with my camera at the ready and, even at night, not one person came up to me to ask how much my camera costs. On the other hand, I had difficulties with shooting people.

A lot of people didn’t want to pop up in some stranger’s frame and 99 percent were against me taking their portrait. At the same time, no one tried to break my camera.

When people noticed me, they demanded that I delete pictures that I had taken of them. In general, I shot them while they weren’t looking. Every country has its own particularities and you just need to come to terms with that whatever they are.

My favorite places in Morocco turned out to be the blue city of Chefchaouen, where the majority of walls and homes are painted in different shades of blue, and the sea of sand in the Sahara. Chefchaouen is like a Moroccan Amsterdam: everyone is shamelessly smoking hash right on the streets. And, until then, I had never been to the desert. I can say that my first time was great.

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_10.jpg”, “text”:”Ouled-Sidi Mukhtar. The owner of a ride invites kids on his carousel.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_09.jpg”, “text”:”A morning ascent on the dunes of the Sahara in Merzouga.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_16.jpg”, “text”:”You can see for miles in the desert.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_17.jpg”, “text”:”Chefchaouen. Taking pictures of Moroccans isn’t easy. This is the only portrait I got after an entire week there.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_18.jpg”, “text”:”All pictures taken in Chefchaouen feature blue walls and doors in the background.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_19.jpg”, “text”:”Chefchaouen. Juice and cactus for snacks.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_20.jpg”, “text”:”Chefchaouen. All of the mountain residents come to town for the morning market to sell their goods.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_21.jpg”, “text”:”Chefchaouen.”}

{“img”:”/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/MAL_22.jpg”, “text”:”Chefchaouen. A young man smokes hash on a cliff.”}

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