I Photographed Stray Cats Hours Before An Earthquake In Morocco, And Here’s The Result (40 Pics)
In the enchanting streets of Morocco, I embarked on a captivating photographic journey, capturing the lives of resilient stray cats. Little did I know, the images were a testament to the beauty that preceded the unexpected.
Join me in exploring Morocco's vibrant culture through the eyes of these feline companions, just hours before the earthquake that shook our world.
In September, during a memorable getaway with my family in Essaouira, Morocco, my camera lens found an unexpected focus: the town's resilient stray cats. What began as a vacation soon transformed into a passionate documentary photography project, "Africats," unveiling Morocco's soul through the often-overlooked lives of these feline wanderers.
The streets of Morocco are like a constantly evolving canvas, filled with colors, textures, and stories waiting to be told. The cats, in their fluid and unpredictable movements, became an integral part of this canvas, often accentuating the culture and energy of the place. Throughout the project, my main focus remained on the stray cats themselves, but I couldn't resist incorporating some of the locals into the compositions. It felt as though I was painting a portrait of the people through the cats, a testament to the strong bond between the two.
The earthquake that struck Marrakech on September 8, 2023, just minutes after my departure, cast a unique light on my photographs. Some of these images were captured only hours before the event, giving them an unforeseen poignancy. Looking at them now, I see a profound sense of peace and tranquility, juxtaposed with the saying "ignorance is bliss." The cats lounging in the sun after a day's catch, focused solely on their immediate surroundings and the next meal, reflect a serene ignorance that can be a comfort in the face of life's unpredictability.
Furthermore, the photographs exude resilience. This resilience is twofold: it's seen in the people of Morocco as they cope with the aftermath of the tragic earthquake, and it's mirrored in the feline subjects of this project. The stray cats, being resilient survivors in their own right, symbolize the endurance and grace under pressure that's emblematic of Morocco itself.
During my time in Morocco, I observed a fascinating bond between many of the cats and the local communities. While these cats didn't belong to anyone in the traditional sense, they were cared for in various ways, with discarded leftovers, unused cuts of meat and fish, and the occasional treat. Locals often spoke of these cats as if they were their own, a mutual companionship formed out of the shared experience of life in Morocco.
Regarding the immediate aftermath of the earthquake, my plane took off from Marrakech airport just 15 minutes before disaster struck. It was only the next day that I heard about it. My time spent with the people and communities of the area made the news of the earthquake even harder to stomach. Despite my fortunate escape, I felt a profound sense of sadness for those affected.