Tour Morocco via Melodi Meadows’ Polaroids, captured on our December Catalog shoot…
“Not only did I fall in love with the people, I fell in love with the land, the architecture, the colors, the importance of experience and living. I had no idea what I was walking into when I arrived in Chefchaouen but, over the next couple of days, my heart grew full with love and respect for this blue city. Each day I woke before sunrise to the roar of the city praying outside my window. I laid in bed in a deep meditation as a sense of unity rushed over me in a place where I was a stranger, though I never felt like a stranger in this place. In the mornings, I would hike to the highest point in the city to watch the sun shed its light across the tops of these buildings. Along the way I found myself greeting everyone I passed, smiling at those who I had never met. They welcomed my kindness, although I stood out like a sore thumb. Once I reached the high point, I stopped to capture the details of the land with my Polaroid camera. I noticed at the bottom of a hill an elderly woman was carrying a very large bundle of sticks on her back. What strength and dedication this woman had, and here she stood with me looking longingly at this glorious sunrise. I’ve never seen joy like this before. Her eyes held the cosmos and each line on her face its own story. She admired her land as if she was seeing it for the first time, just as I was. On that day she may have not known just how much she taught me about life with just a subtle pause and a kind hello.
“There were virtually no cell phones with which to take photos or text messages — most everything had to be remembered and experienced in the moment. To slow down and learn about people and their lives in this way is pure and honest. I began to challenge myself to slow down and focus on what was surrounding me. I shot only Polaroids in the city — this required me to be present and truly see what it was I was capturing. Color, patterns, textures…they all seemed so magical when examined closely. But all I wanted to capture was people. Having been turned down several times when asking to take a portrait, I thought I may leave here without documentation of their kind faces. Then one night, on the rooftop of our riad (hotel), an employee came up to change the laundry. He passed by and looked down at my pictures. He continued on with his work but, when he returned, he stopped. I first thought he was asking to take my photo but I quickly realized he was asking me to take his. Happily I did, and gave him the Polaroid as a gift. He was so happy. He told me after that I was always welcome here in Morocco. With grateful smiles on both of our faces we said goodbye and went on our way.
“Morocco was like living in a dream and, while in that dream, people live because they are alive, the colors demand you to feel their emotion, the music creates overwhelming joy and endless smiles crowd your heart. A dream of pure beauty in every form.”
“A thing that you see in my pictures is that I was not afraid to fall in love with these people.” – Annie Leibovitz
Written and photographed by Melodi Meadows.