First impressions of Casablanca

Welcome to the blog! I used the third person for the website to keep things a bit distant and “serious”… I will share more personal feelings and opinion in this blog section.

After six years in Beijing, I moved to Casablanca, the economic capital of Morocco. It was a sudden decision. Before moving, I just had one short trip to Casablanca in May 2017. I explored the city and took some street shots. Street photography in Casablanca is very different compared to Beijing. Casablanca has very nice light most of the time, and vivid colors are everywhere. Beijing is often grey/polluted, and the city isn’t very colorful: grey modern building and grey hutongs. I actually thought about making a street photography series called “Greyjing”… If we have good conditions for photography here in Morocco, one thing is much more challenging than in Beijing: people’s reaction to street photography. I now use a compact camera for street photography, and started doing so in China, but I used a DSLR for years and taking pictures with a big lens like a 24-70mm wasn’t a big issue. Very very few people really react when you take their picture in the streets of Beijing. Casablanca isn’t like that. People here are extremely reluctant about being photographed and they will let you know about it. So one has to be very low-profile, stealthy and fast to shoot on the streets, or be ready to negotiate with people. And DSLRs clearly are not a good option here, unless you have a rather small one and use a pancake lens. That being said, keeping a low-profile, respectful attitude and smiling, I had more friendly reactions here than aggressive/negative ones. For instance, when I walked in a small street in a relatively poor area, I was greeted by a man who was selling fish and encouraged me to take pictures before inviting me to share his lunch. It was a really nice and friendly moment. 

I have been enjoying street photography for years now, and my first long-term photo project belongs to this genre (hopefully I will manage to have my Beijing photobook published). I intend to keep on shooting on the street, but I am not sure whether I will dedicate most of my energy for personal projects to street photography or not. I have some ongoing street series here in Morocco but my first big project will most likely be a portrait project… We will see.

All the pictures below have been taken within a few days during my trip of May 2017.

Now, I have been living in Casa since the end of July 2017.

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