Casablanca, Morocco

My trip to Casablanca seemed like a good idea, anyway. But warm sunshine and exotic locales always sound good in the middle of a Seattle winter. Visions of the luminous Indrid Bergman don’t hurt, either. I knew the city’s namesake movie was shot in a Hollywood backlot more than half a century ago, but the city’s noise, crowds and grime still came as something of a shock.

My utter incomprehension of even the simplest phrases in French and Arabic didn’t help matters. Finally working up the energy to leave my hotel room, I walked the city’s winding, dubiously signed streets in a jet-lag haze, on guard for threats both imaginery and real, and found my way to Place Mohammed V, a crowded plaza centered around a long dry fountain.

Amidst the henna stands and crowds of loitering men in shiny suits, pension-aged merchants sold sips of water from goat skins. It didn’t seem like much of a living, but since they were the only ones who didn’t shower me with abuse when I raised a camera, they were then only people I photographed that day.

Photographed February 26, 2000 with Canon EOS-1 and 20-35mm f/2.8 lens on Fujichrome Velvia

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