All photos by Shai Levy. Used with Creative Commons permission.
Among the goals of every travel photographer is not only to create a sense of place, but also to paint a portrait of its people. We’ve put the spotlight on a number of great examples, such as the documentary portraits of Giacomo Bruno, Stijn Hoekstra, and Vikas Vasudev. Today, we’re adding the Marrakesh portraits of Berlin-based Shai Levy to the pile to inspire you to do the same on your next trip. If you’re yet to do a portrait series using your Hasselblad X1D or Ricoh GR, this collection of portraits may also be particularly interesting for you. Marrakesh is one of the most popular cities of Morocco, famed for its traditional markets (souks), city walls and gates, gardens, mosques, and vibrant city life. Levy wanted to portray Marrakesh as a center for trade in particular. What better way to do this than a portrait series featuring some of the faces you’ll find in the markets?
“Marrakesh, more than anything, is a city of trade. It’s in the air, it’s the soul and obviously the matter of this place. When asking permission from locals to take their portrait, you get one of the three: 1. A polite “No.” 2. “Yes, but please pay me.” 3. An Ok,” he said on his personal attempt to “trade” with the people.
Apart from introducing us to the traders that make the city’s souks colorful and fascinating, in a good number of photos, Levy also gives us an idea on what they are selling or doing for a living. Lastly, he also reminds us that markets are always among the best places to go and shoot to get a slice of daily life in a city, and photographing locals in their natural environment always opens up unique photo opportunities and memorable travel stories.
Check out Shai Levy’s website and Behance portfolio to see more of his work.