Friday, 25 February 2011

For all potential clients of Essaouira images, the situation in Morocco and particularly Essaouira is normal and calm.  Despite organised protests on Sunday Feb 20th across the country this is a relaxed town and very few things can provoke the local population into organised demonstrations; tourism continues to flourish here.   As a resident of Essaouira I am naturally in touch with events here on a daily basis.  For those wishing to book weeks or months in advance, please rest assured any payments will be returned to you if the situation changes.  Best wishes Darren Lewey

Sunday, 20 February 2011

During Sharon's week here she produced the first landscape portfolio for the photography holiday experience here in Essaouira.  On Wednesday we went to a village 40km south of Essaouira and trekked amongst the fossilised remains of a former seabed before dwelling on the stream that flows past Sidi m'bark towards the waterfalls and sea. Thursday was a national holiday and with Naima's family we went to a fete near Had-Draa, north of Essaouira which displayed a quite primitive looking fairground wheel which nonetheless enthralled the local children.  By Friday night we were up for some local music with the most famous Gnawi of them all, Mahmoud Guiniawho despite an impromptu evening off played one fabulous song before we headed home.

Essaouiraimages is all about experiencing Moroccan culture beyond the tourist trail.  Each day we focus on a different photographic genre that explores different parts of the town and beyond.  You'll meet new people along the way and feel as if you've been here for a lifetime.  It's an intense experience but one that draws people to return again.  By the end of the week students are confident and independent with their photography and they've met many people and seen places that independent tourists rarely get to experience.


On February 6th Naima and I drove the 5 or so hours from Essaouira to the small but beautifully located town, Tafraoute in the Anti Atlas range of mountains.  The approach as seen above, harbours wonderful valleys of blossom.  However we nearly didn't make as it as we ran out of fuel 30 km out, an hour or so from sunset.  However within seconds a Berber family were passing and they located a can of diesel for us.

Tafraoute is where I first came to Morocco in January 1991 as a student to make a short film with my newly acquired 16mm Bolex camera.  Then I was befriended by a local guy, my age who spoke a little English and with Larbi's help after two weeks I returned to Derby with an unusual film to say the least.  My return this week was exciting, naturally the town is bigger and smarter but of course the draw is the surrounding epic landscape.

We were only there for the day so we headed to the painted rocks, where I had filmed the main sequence for my short.  It still has a magical quality.  More remarkable was that unwittingly Naima was wearing clothes that made her part of the landscape.

Saturday, 12 February 2011

Dan's review can be found here.  "An oasis of calm and civilisation"

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Niki's review can be found here. "wonderful Riad with superb staff"

Saturday, 5 February 2011

She came, photographed and shopped...Niki lost in the jungle of the Maison du Sud.  You can view her three splendid galleries from last week via the Viewbook gallery link:

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Mount Toubkal, the highest peak in North Africa at 4167m, photographed last week during one of my trips around Morocco approaching from the village of Amizmiz.