The Assembly of the Dead and Le Boqueria

Maybe I am a hopeless romantic, but I had hoped a place with the great handle of “the assembly of the dead” would be authentically creepy. Nope. The only creepy part of the Jemma el Fnaa was the waiters who physically pulled you into their stalls for overpriced food. Fortunately for V. and me we were able to let the rest of the group become fodder while we walked the night market and took photographs.

The night market was not what I had expected at all. From what I had seen online I was sure that the market was fairly isolated and more in a carnivalesque area. It was on the edge of the souks and facing the ritzy tourist area of Marrakech. The stalls each served the same food, and the waiters were super-pushy towards our guide and group. Once we separated from them we were fine…until about 10pm when the locals came in and turned the area into an unholy nightmare of crushing bodies and men trying to grope tourists.

It is not easy to shoot in such low-light conditions, but with the Sekonic 758DR meter I am able to spot on the light area and expose for that only. Most newcomers use automatic exposures and full scene metering, so they end up with either the flash coming up and on or they end up with a bright, blurry image. There is a definite amber tint to the lights here because of the light bulbs used by the cartmen; I can correct it,  but I like it that way, I think.

As a clear contrast, the next triptych is of the market stalls at Barcelona’s Boqueria. Gorgeously fresh seafood, candies and eggs were bountiful in this clean, albeit tourist-centered, market. I would have been safe eating any of these items raw from the table, even though I like my eggs cooked.

Before I am accused of hyperbolic complaining about Morocco, thereby making it sound like a terrible place to visit, I should assert that I am very happy to have had an opportunity to see the country for all of its beauty and ugliness. The final triptych for the day  are my three current favourite photographs from the adventure thus far [I do have about 100 negatives to sort through still].

The desert mountain areas are beautiful for their rugged, ancient features. The first image was shot at the ancient horse stables, the next is Ait Benhaddou, and the final one is from the area preceding the Atlas mountains.

Yesterday, I took some time to spend with my old friends, Jackie, Craig and Ian. We had to rent a car and drive a few hours, but the comfort of friends is special after such a long haul around Morocco and Spain. The best friends don’t care if you haven’t spoken in years, and it never feels like you haven’t. V and I had a great time – if only the dogs were not so naughty, so that they could have come for a change of scenery, too.


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