A Mélange of Morocco: Through the lens
September 14-21, 2019 (Photo Tour)
8 days, 7 nights
Welcome to Morocco, a crossroads of language, culture and civilization. Get ready to employ all your senses and immerse yourself in the sands of Moroccan culture.
This is a fully guided, all-inclusive photography tour from the time you land in magnificent Marrakech to the time you leave. Just show up eager to experience something extraordinary.
NOTE: Because our guides are local we are able to keep our finger on the pulse of a place. Because our groups are small we are able to move around with fluidity. Both of these things allow for meaningful changes to our itinerary so we're sure not to miss out on something extraordinary. This is just one of the ways in which our tours stand out.
Here is where it all begins, in this intoxicating city of nearly one million strong at the foot of the snowcapped High Atlas Mountains.
Our city tour will include meandering through the medina with a local guide, taking in the souks and Jemaa el-Fnaa, one of the most storied public squares in history. Also on tour, the Marrakech Museum, Bahia Palace, Majorelle Gardens - created in the 1920s by French painter, Jacques Majorelle, who lovingly maintained it for over 40 years - and plenty of architectural wonder.
When it comes to flavor, Morocco is known for its spices and diverse palate with influences from multiple cultures. We will learn about Moroccan cuisine as we venture beyond the central square with local guides who have curated some of their favorite places in the streets and back alleys of the medina. There will be plenty to eat and shoot, you will not go hungry!
The Moroccan tradition of hikayat, or storytelling, dates back almost 1,000 years. We will spend an evening with a master storyteller who will weave his tales for us during a private performance in our riad. (What is a riad?) This is a great opportunity to capture intimate images of Moroccan culture.
Essaouira - UNESCO World Heritage Site
We will spend some time seaside in the enchanting, laid-back town of Essaouira. Far from the expansive sands of the desert lies this small, intoxicating fishing harbour. Built during the late 18th century it has a mix of North African and European architecture and was a major trading hub between the Sahara and Europe.
The medina is home to many small arts and crafts businesses, notably wood-carving using the root and the stem from the Thuja tree. We will spend some time exploring traditional art and music with a local guide.
Essaouira is the center of argan oil production. The argan tree is endemic to Morocco as are the goats that climb these trees to dine on the fruit. Really! You will see it for yourself. The oil is used for both culinary and cosmetic purposes and its production currently supports more than 2 million people in the region. Document the traditional process and discover new storytelling techniques while side by side with the artisans.
In this small village, with Jebel Toubkal - North Africa’s highest mountain - as a backdrop, we will meet and greet local Berber families. Berber history goes back to prehistoric times. They’ve been around for at least 4000 years or maybe more. Calling themselves Amazigh, they fought against the Romans, Arab, and French invaders. Even though others have tried to colonize the Berber people, they have managed to preserve their own language and culture and can be found in various regions throughout Morocco.
A rough, dry, moon-like expanse, Agafay offers quite the contrast from the hustle and bustle of Marrakech. We'll take you across sand dunes, over rocky buttes and through hidden canyons all offering splendid views of the Atlas Mountains. Here we'll spend a night in luxury desert tents to take advantage of an indelible Moroccan sunset and sunrise!
What to expect on our photo tour.
Christine and Jessica will work with you to provide the best travel photography experience possible!
This photo tour is designed for the enthusiastic novice as well as the semi-professional. A good working knowledge of your camera is advantageous, but not essential. Instruction will be hands-on in the field and tailored to your level of expertise. There will be constructive evaluation of images and opportunity for show and tell.
Our thoughtfully planned itinerary is not set in stone – we delight in, and will take advantage of, any unplanned photographic opportunity that presents itself. We don't try to fit everything into one day – there will be ample time to immerse yourself in the culture and spend time on your craft.
There will be early morning and evening photo excursions to take advantage of optimal light, visits to places tourists rarely encounter on their own, and access to local artisans in their studios.
This tour does involve a fair amount of walking. Participants should have no mobility issues.
Non-photographer partners are welcome to share their partner’s room and join the group.
Christine Armbruster, Photography Leader
With a background in photography and a fascination of world cultures, Christine blends her commercial and documentary photography to create stylistic, sophisticated imagery for both work and pleasure. In addition to contemporary digital photography, she shoots medium format film on a camera from the 1970s while traveling in order to capture more raw, offbeat images. She says, it's not about having the latest technology, it's about how you use your tools. She feels this approach allows her to slow down, connect with her subject, and produce more thought-provoking photographs.
Listen to what James R. Swensen, associate professor of art history and the history of photography at Brigham Young University, has to say about Christine on NPR (minute 30).
Her work has been published internationally and shown in galleries throughout the United States. Her editorial and food images have appeared in magazines including AFAR, Outside Magazine, Wine Enthusiast, The Dominican Today, and the Utah Historical Quarterly. She continues to work with ad agencies and businesses to create images and video for clients including The Travel Channel, Dove, Airbnb, The Waldorf Astoria, Hilton Hotels, James Beard Foundation, Grubhub, Cafe Zupas, and Petra Caravan Tours.
Christine is a fun-loving, social person who readily connects with the people she photographs, from nomads in the Arabian desert to coffee pickers in the Dominican Republic; from teenage refugees in the U.S. to marginalized communities in Eastern Europe.
Christine Armbruster is based in Minneapolis, Minnesota. You can see her work on her website at www.christinearmbruster.com or Instagram at www.instagram.com/armbrusterphoto.
What is included
Group is limited to 8 participants so reserve your place early. If you are a group with at least 6 people and would like to arrange your own travel dates, please contact us. Tour cost is for double occupancy. Single room supplement is $425.