Nearing the end of my first study abroad program at the Glasgow School of Art in Scotland, and with an upcoming one-week break from school, I found myself planning a trip unlike anything I had experienced before. I gathered three of my traveling buddies, who had the same availability and desire to travel, and we sat down to discuss where we wanted to go. I had been studying Islamic design as part of my final project for the semester, and I was obsessed with the idea of seeing some of it first hand. We all ended up agreeing that one-week in Morocco would be a very unique way to end our study abroad trip. And so we packed our bags and set off! Simple as that.
This photo was taken inside the Hassan II Mosque in Casablanca, Morocco in May 2010. I remember being absolutely awe-struck by the entire building- the size, the colors, the attention in the details- but mostly intrigued by its gleaming newness and tremendous wealth in stark contrast against the rest of Casablanca. I had been photographing countless variations of Islamic patterns as a sort of photo sketchbook for myself, and so I was originally taking this photo as a study on texture. I captured a few images, first without people. Then, as others came into the space, I realized how beautiful their silhouettes were against such a background.
All of the visitors to the mosque were equally as stunned as I, all becoming very quiet, internalizing their surroundings, and tilting their heads back to contemplate. I wanted to catch the figures looking forward and outward, in a state of inspiration, revelation, and insight. As they positioned themselves better than I could have directed, I deem myself almost lucky to capture the image with only two attempts. Besides the beauty of the reflection, the silhouettes, the lighting, the symmetry, and the stark contrasts, I mostly like the mysterious element within the photo.