Posted by on May 21, 2015  Add comments
May 212015
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Hamed (pronounced something like Hah-meed) was our personal tour guide and driver for three days from Marrakech to the desert at Merzouga and return – about 1200kms all up. On the middle day, the day we were arriving at the desert for our overnight camel ride and camp, he wore his traditional Berber clothing instead of the trousers and short-sleeved shirt he wore the other days. I didn’t recognise him at first! I wanted to ask him if his change of attire was just for us tourists, but instead I asked if he felt more comfortable in his traditional clothing, and he gave an obviously honest answer of “yes”. He had grown up in a small, Berber village and longed to go back, but he’d worked as a guide for 18 years and Marrakech was where he was able to earn a good income. Hamed is obviously well liked by all the locals on the tourist circuit, and undoubtedly contributed to our enjoyment of the tour, for which we are very grateful. I think this portrait well reflects his relaxed and friendly personality.

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  9 Responses to “Hamed”

  1. Love this Vicki,
    I used to work as a tour guide through the Sahara too and got to admire many Morrocan’s. I found many to be the most multi lingual, likeable and helpful people I dealt with anywhere in fact.
    A face always has a powerful impact but you have maximised that by producing this image in black and white!!!

    • Thank you, Blue! But, WOW!, a tour guide in the Sahara – what an experience!! Often when we stopped another ‘guided’ vehicle would pull up and while we tourists were snapping our pics (ooops – I mean capturing our images – or ‘somethink’ ) our guides would be catching up – they obviously all knew each other.

      I often use reduced colour saturation in my portraits. The natural colours here were already quite muted, but still distracting, so it felt right to remove them all and then add a touch of warmth.

  2. Vicki, a very engaging portrait. I think one of your best.

    • Thank you, John. That’s interesting. It was probably one of my ‘easiest’ portraits. On our first day I’d told Hamed that I liked photographing people, so when he turned up in the morning in his desert garb he absolutely knew he’d lined himself up for a portrait and we laughed about it. And I suspect he’d posed for photos on every trip he’d guided in the past 18 years! He was almost a professional model!! 🙂

  3. Lovely portrait. I agree with John, very engaging

  4. It seems to me that by your question you demonstrated that you recognised his “essence”. Then you made a portrait that did the same thing…….

    • From me …. thank you, Ian! But I can’t help but wonder what Hamed would think of that concept! [insert a pause here, while I think] …. no doubt he would raise at least one eyebrow, and, quietly, take it in his stride. Mind you, I can’t imagine what might be going a couple of inches behind his eyes, but I guess he’s seen and heard it all!

  5. Vicki, I find this a very “honest” portrait. It speaks of both your honesty and that of Hamed. Very special achievment.

    • Many thanks, Bruce! Hamed made it very easy for us to like and trust him right from the start and he made our trip a special experience.

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