Lose shoes may well become a photo project in its own right next year. I am always mystified by single shoes lying derelict in public places. How did someone manage to lose it and not notice? Surely not every piece of left footwear is discarded by a drunk or drunken reveller? But if you’re not drunk, why else would you leave one shoe behind?
This particular shoe caught my eye because it’s so neat, tidy, clean and – with the lace still tied – it looks as if the person whose foot had occupied it had evaporated a few moments before.
Perhaps I’ll create the ‘Lost Shoe Bar’. Up high (where you can’t smell them!) shoes on display and every night around a wood burner, folks turn up and tell or sing the tales behind a particular half a pair. If anyone ever walks in with the matching shoe, they get free drinks in exchange for the real story.
Weaving and winding in the narrow streets of Marrakech, finding my way back to the little Riad was one of the delights of my stay. Never sure whether I had taken the correct alleyway, I meandered down narrow, dusty streets full of people.
I loved this shed – bursting open with a random collection of tyres and bike parts. I don’t create too many black and white photos but this one called for it, so that the textures and tangles became the focus rather than a mess of colours.
A shoemaker must surely be one of the oldest crafts in existence. After all, I just read on the internet that humans first started wearing footwear 40,000 years ago.
In this photo, taken in Marrakech, I feel the echoes of centuries past, as if time has stood still. Shut your eyes and those leather souls, drying in the sun, could be the base of 15th century slippers, 12th century boots, 8th century shoes. At the same time, they are a story of what is to come; who will fill these footsteps and where will they lead?
I enjoyed snapping this picture in London, solely because I immediately saw the pun. Sadly the pigeon was blinking and my wise friend, Moth, said afterwards that in that kind of situation, it’s worth shooting loads in a row, as it’s really hard on the camera screen to know whether you’ve got all the details.
I still like it but I do have a sense of regret for not rattling off a few.
I love those moments in photography when you do manage to lift the camera to your eye in that quick moment and get the shot on the hoof that really works.
I couldn’t believe my luck when this man strolled past an arched window in Marrakech. I try to keep my camera in hand, with the strap wrapped around my wrist to avoid any accidental drops, and switched on whenever I’m in a photogenic place and it really paid off here.
To me, he looks like a medieval monk on a secret mission, hunched over, hurrying and not wanting anyone to know who he is.
Possibly my favourite photo of the year but I’ll see what you all think!
I have signed up to a great street photography community. I haven’t had a chance to take any new photos in the past couple of days (a woman has to put her nose to the grindstone, don’t ya know), so I have been revisiting older photos.
I have always loved this early one in my street photography ventures. I was shy of taking people’s photos but plucked up the courage to motion my camera at this chef taking a break, next to the back entrance of Arlington Arcade in London. I love the easy smile he gave me.
This was taken long before I had a good camera and photoshop, so I had a little play to see how I could improve it. I am so pleased with the results. I selected him and adjusted the lighting, contrast and sharpness on him in a new layer. Then, in a duplicate layer I reversed the selection and darkened the background as well as reducing the saturation. Finally I created a third layer and used a mixture of the clone stamp, spot healing and copying to get rid of the steel joist distracting the eye just behind his head.
I was in London at the weekend, to go to the excellent play, Peter and Alice. I didn’t get much time for photos before meeting my friend and I was disappointed by what I did snap. To make up for the lack of good photographs, I decided to have a truly creative play with one that I did take.
I won’t claim that the end result is a great photo but it was a good foundation from which to play.
It’s a ‘spot the difference’ for amateur photographers and burgeoning Photoshop Elements editors out there.
Last weekend I was in Marrakech. My friend and I arrived after dark and after storms, so we woke on Saturday morning unsure of what would await us outside.
This was the wonderful blue sky that greeted me as I opened the door of our room.
I was happy and couldn’t wait to start the day.
First stop was to find our way back down to Jemaa el-Fnaa, as we had become pretty lost the night before. After many digressions into souk alleyways we made it and headed straight for the Cafe de France balcony, which gives a great view of life happening down below. It was to become a regular haunt in our short stay.
I could have stayed there all day – not only was the people-watching magnificent but the coffee was superb. Best of all there was shade for me and sun for Liz – the perfect arrangement! But the Ben Youssef Medersa, the tanneries and the souks were calling.
When I visited Morocco in 2002 with a travel company that still claims to be all about ‘small group travel’, even though we were in a group of 24 (begins and ends with ‘e’), our local guide promised we would visit the famous Ben Youssef Medersa (or Madrassa as it used to be – why the change, I wonder?). He failed to deliver on his promise two days running, so this architectural gem was top of my sight-seeing list.
I could quite happily have spent a few days contemplating life and studying in one of the tiny rooms off the courtyard. Here are my snaps. If you go to Marrakech, I would recommend it as a ‘must see’.
We had a lovely lunch break nearby and I couldn’t resist taking sneaky snaps. There are so many interesting, craggy and beautiful faces in Marrakech but it’s not a place where I feel comfortable asking to take people’s photos – it’s hard to get your hands on small change and many people who would make for the best pictures would need a little ‘thank you’.
So these are my sneaky lunchtime ‘world goes by’ photos.
We strolled through the streets to go and visit the tanneries. My advice? Don’t bother! Before we could find the classic views of the vats of colourful dye we were gathered up into an impromptu tour of one man’s ‘patch’. It was interesting enough but the photos weren’t even worth keeping and I can’t say I learnt anything about the process that made it worth the smell. If anyone knows how to find the section that gives the classic views (I visited them last time I was there), do post a comment with info!
A bit more ‘souking’ followed – we weren’t necessarily interested in buying. Rather, wandering around the ancient alleyways is a major sight-seeing joy in its own right. Here’s today’s selection of pictures. There will be more tomorrow!
Our final stop in our crammed day was the Menara gardens. Personally, I wouldn’t bother going again but I imagine if you went in the early morning or at sunset, the view would make up for the fact that this is a rather dull garden with a big resevoir and a building that frames pictures of the snowy mountains rather nicely.
The highlight in these gardens was being ‘mobbed’ by a group of about 30 very enthusiastic school children who all wanted their photo taken with us. While we were joining in and finding it good fun, when their teachers arrived, they were horrified that the kids had ‘bothered’ us. They explained in French (and I was chuffed to understand) that the children were from a rural area and hadn’t met many tourists!
We forfeited the sunset on our second evening in favour of going for a beer in a hotel off the square. It was an expensive stop (about a tenner for two beers served with lots of gorgeous nuts and olives) but absolutely worth it, as it had been a hot day of wall to wall sight-seeing! If you find yourself needing a beer stop, then head for Hotel Les Jardins de La Koutoubia
Tomorrow – a trip to the mountain waterfalls with no photos, the Majorelle Gardens, rug-buying and some sunset pics.