Womens Kickboxing, Marrakech and My Birth Anniversary

Had to miss last week’s blog entry with my travels so must make up for it today. The week before last I shot the French Women’s Kickboxing Championship.

I don’t know enough to judge the talent but the ambiance was great. It was held in a local gymnasium but very professionally presented, something I rarely find at these kind of events in Paris.

Fans were really into it and the lighting in the ring made it look like a movie that Mickey Rourke should be in. To see some images from the event CLICK HERE. Or if you prefer, you can see a short video I put together HERE (give it a minute to load).

I just came back from Morocco photographing the Marrakech International Film Festival. It’s a festival not like any other I’ve been to as you can probably tell from some of the images of the red carpet.

The festival was relatively calm and included tributes to Sigourney Weaver and Michelle Yeoh. The jury was headed by director Barry Levinson and one of the jury members is my new dream girl … Italian actress Caterina Murino (anyway, my dream girl needed updating since Elle Macpherson 15 years ago).

Frankly the best part of the festival was that it was 75 degrees and sunny almost every day there and we had a bit of time to explore.

I find the people of Marrakech extremely warm and welcoming in general, but of all the places I’ve traveled to, Morocco is the most difficult for taking photos. This was my second trip to Marrakech and both times I experienced the same difficulties. The general population there has an acute sense of their surroundings. This sense seemed almost supernatural to me; I could hide behind a tree and as I was about to snap a photo, my subject, who could be busy doing 5 other things, inevitably would whip his head around and make it clear to me that he didn’t want his photo taken. I truly have no idea how they knew that I was there each time.

Most of the images I was able to take of people were done on the sly, after waiting patiently to blend into the background. This contrasts so strongly from places like India, where many people there actually ask you to please take their photo.

The heart of the city is the Medina (walled inner city). It is surrounded by about 12 miles worth of walls dating back to the 13th century. The souk (market) there is one of the biggest in Africa and is a serious assault on all your senses. I found the only way to enjoy it was to periodically stop, find a relatively open space, and let the action come to me. It sounds like a cliche but as you walk through the souk, the smells and sounds seem to change every few yards, from delicious and beautiful to intolerable and disgusting. And although the guys trying to sell you things can be exceedingly annoying, it’s hard not to like massive amount of life that takes place there everyday.

To see some images from in and around the Medina, CLICK HERE.

To see some festival and red carpet images, CLICK HERE.

And if you’d like a little taste of what it was like on the red carpet at the festival, you can see a short video clip by CLICKING HERE.

Thanks to everyone for sending birthday wishes from all around the world. It was a unique birthday experience this year spending it in Marrakech. I had my first ever birthday couscous!

Some images of the past two weeks:

Swans in love in front of the Louvre
Nap time
Menu from my “5-star” (out of 10?) hotel in Marrakech
Menu from my “5-star” (out of 10?) hotel in Marrakech
Menu from my “5-star” (out of 10?) hotel in Marrakech


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