These men are water sellers in Jemaa el Fna, the main square in Marrakech. Historically, their job was to walk around and sell water from a goat-skin bag, and they wore a ‘necklace’ of cups from which he would select, and a bell to announce their ‘wares’. The tradition has stood for ages, and although these days, water sellers are more often making a living from money from tourists who want to photograph them. And yes, I was one of those people. Who wouldn’t want to with all that color and traditional detail? But to my surprise, this year, I discovered that locals actually still buy water from them! I watched as people shared the same cup, although these guys have many to choose from; but where’s the soap and water to wash them out?!
I love this man’s face (above). He just has a warmth and friendliness that you wouldn’t expect from people day after day, hours on end, walk the square in the heat to make a living. Although I have many other pictures of the full outfit, like the man below, I came in close to give this portrait a more intimate feel, and he ‘gifted’ me with a soft smile in his eyes.
I have brought prints back to these men and they recognized me this year like an ‘old friend’ – well, maybe – they still wanted money for yet another picture, but who can blame them?!
I’ll be returning in early April 2015 for another photo tour of this very interesting country. Check out the tour and workshop schedule for more information.
Thanks for visiting and comments are always welcome!