Well, Isn´t This Handy? Moroccan Photos by Someone Else!

Here it is: my best Moroccan photo. Now go look at the other ones...

Here it is: my best Moroccan photo. Now go look at the other ones...

I have a confession to make: I am a terrible photographer.

Not that you´d know, seeing as though I left my camera cord at home and all my posts from the road have been woefully without visual accompaniment. But despite the fact you can´t see any what fills my memory card, I have been making a concerted effort to take more photos on this trip. Photos enhance articles, and most publications dole out additional sums for good pictures. The only problem is, I suck.

It´s not just that I lack the technical ability to address lighting and angles and perspective. I´m a timid photographer, not intrepid enough to shove my camera lens in at the moments that would create good photos. I´ve come home from previous multiple-month sojourns with less than 200 pictures. But I actually love photography, and see plenty of good pictures all around me—it´s just that, by the time I´ve dug my camera out of my bag, turned it on and focused, the moment has passed. And I find I´ve wasted the moment not enjoying it, sucking it in, but instead trying to photograph it.

I´ve decided that, since I´m a much better writer than I am photographer, I´m going to take pictures with words. When I see an insanely beautiful or mesmorizing or unusual image, I study it, memorize it, savor it—then scribble as fast as my fingers will let me, trying to get it all down. It works—when I flip through my notebook, the scraps of phrases bring back everything my haphazard and poorly focused photos don´t.

But a good pictures is still a good picture, and I wistfully reflect on all the excellent moments in time that are only captured in my mind. So you can imagine my delight when one of my favorite travel forces, Matador, published a photo essay on Morocco today.

The photographer, Paul Sullivan, has a killer eye and enough credentials to make you cry. Most of the photos are from Marrakesh, where I spent my ill-fated last day; I think photo 10 of Djemaa El Fna totally captures the spirit of the food stalls.

I like this system, someone doing my dirty work for me without even knowing it. I fantasize about one day setting out on a trip with a photographer, tag-teaming some destination with a dynamic duo of artistic ability. Until I get a grant or find a glossy magazine still willing to send people out on stories old-school style, this will have to do.

(PS—If you´re licking your chops for more kick-ass travel photography, check out my homeboy Peter´s photo blog, stolen goods.)

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7 Responses to “Well, Isn´t This Handy? Moroccan Photos by Someone Else!”


  1. 1 Hal Amen October 16, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    Thanks for the shout, Lauren. Trips is making an effort to come by more photos of this caliber in the future.

  2. 2 Sarah October 17, 2009 at 12:49 pm

    I always have this conflict now when I go places between writing and photographing. I am definitely much more of a writer than a photographer and I’ve found that whenever I concentrate on taking pictures I lose the overall sense of things, and the particular details and senses and feelings I’d normally absorb. So, camera ban at the moment, unless I’m just walking around the city.

  3. 3 Sarah Bentley October 17, 2009 at 2:53 pm

    Hey Lauren!! We were just checking out your blog, very nice and entertaining! Its great to hear about your travels. Hope all is going well!

  4. 4 pam October 17, 2009 at 4:47 pm

    great photos, thanks!

  5. 5 Carlo December 18, 2009 at 6:03 pm

    I can totally relate. I love photography and am getting more into it…I’ve taken some fairly decent ones (I think anyway) and even was lucky enough to sell one to a publisher for a book cover. But I’m also timid, especially when it comes to people, which is the most fascinating subject when it comes to travel photography. I get self-conscious whipping out the camera in some situations…just something I need to get over!

  6. 6 Julie December 18, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Hi, Lauren! Like Sarah and Carlo, I used to really resist taking photos. But then, because of Lola at Matador, I tried to set aside my issues around doing so and now I’m hooked.

    • 7 laurenquinn December 18, 2009 at 6:55 pm

      Alright, alright… you guys are convincing me I need to step it up on the photography tip. Man, I was hoping to just cop out. 🙂


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Lauren Quinn is a writer and traveler currently living in Hanoi. Lonely Girl Travels was a blog of her sola travels and expat living from 2009 to 2012. She resides elsewhere on the internet now.

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