Sidi Kaouki Horse Riders

I arrived in Morocco defensive and closed off, walking with first clenched, standing tall, eyes down, trust no one, but little by little I softened and opened up and judged morocco by my own experience, my own real life evidence and the more I softened and opened up, the more morocco gave me. I was shown such kindness and generosity and curiosity and also an education for my own ignorance and naivety. A reminder of my privilege. I’ll land on my feet, no matter what. I’m white I rule the world, awareness of this is important. I cringe at white tourist rudeness. Yes you get hassled, we have so much money, even the poor student traveler is rich. For those in the tourist industry, we are their livelihood, they are trying to get by. The majority will not have the opportunity, the privilege to travel. I regret arriving with prejudice already in me and for not waiting to judge myself. A good lesson. The world is your oyster when you’re a white Australian.

On one of my meanderings through Sidi Kaouki, a small surf town south of Essouria, I stopped to chat with the horse-men who were selling horse rides to tourists on the beach. I had noticed how healthy and happy the horses looked. They who offered the chance to see the ranch where all the horse were kept, along with other birds and donkeys etc.  I met Oussama the next day at sunset. I don’t know if he was there because he was waiting for me specifically, but after I arrived he helped me on to one of his beautiufl horses and we rode to the ranch. While riding the moon hung low, ahead of us, bright and yellow and I felt like I could weep because of the beauty of it all. Oussama, who can’t be much more than 18, introduced me to his Uncle, who owns the ranch, and all the animals who live there. We shared tea and laughed at my bad Arabic pronunciations. 

The next morning I met Aziz and he asked me to photograph him riding in exchange for photos and a horse ride. 

Shooting these horses, Aziz and Oussama, riding circles around me, for me to shoot. I was buzzing, lost in the moment, feet wet in the surf, shooting frame after frame until the horses needed rest. Oussama and Aziz both invited me for Tagine to say thank you. Oussama got in first and I was glad, he’s sweet and gentle and smiles a lot. Aziz, although nice enough is harder, harder too with his horse and I caught him looking me up and down as if I were a horse. 

Later I hitched back to town and Oussama was waiting for me. He put me on his grey horse and we cantered/galloped on the beach and back to the ranch. The grey horse a dream to ride and I felt safe riding along with Oussama. Dinner came a little late and I was tired, but touched by the hospitality of Oussama and his uncle.

Newtown / Marrickville

Before I left for Europe I was commissioned to do a suburb profile on Newtown and Marrickville. I love the area, whilst living there I rarely felt the need to venture far, everything you need is in the inner west (except the beach!). Here's a an ode to my Sydney stomping ground....

The Tapestry Couch

I moved into Join the Dots almost two years ago, when life was a bit more tumultuous than it is today. The small studio sits at the Enmore edge of Marrickville and houses a diverse range of creatives - ceramicists, painters, animators and more. I feel lucky to have found a workspace where I am surrounded by good humans, not just the other artists who share the studio space, but also the group who run it. When things get crazy in life, as they always will, it’s comforting to have a space to come to which is consistently welcoming and inspiring.

Tasman Munro is part of the team who run Join the Dots, and undoubtably most stellar guy you’ll ever meet. A few months ago he asked me to photograph a social design project he’d been working on with people who are seeking asylum. The photos we took are an end result of a project that is much more than the object itself, I encourage you to read more on his website

The Tapestry Couch is a collaborative social design project that celebrates the empowering stories of people seeking asylum in Australia…. Through it's making the project also intended to hold space for people to spend time with these stories, not just telling them but engaging with them in an immersive way, siting with them, holding them and physically building up imagery around these stories with the hope of creating vibrancy around these small but empowering moments. - Tasman's website