Whenever I look through my archives, I find myself drawn to this photo.
It was 2010 and I was in Marrakech with a small group of travelers, winding through the souk down alleys so narrow that when you stretched out your arms you could touch both sides.
I remember that it was very hot and the air smelled of raw meat and blood from the butchers’ stalls nearby. Men were standing about looking worn and tired, their sagging bodies braced by the walls upon which they leaned. They barely acknowledged our presence; we weren’t there as far as they were concerned.
A man with a donkey headed towards us, forcing us to flatten ourselves against the walls of the alley to give way and as the donkey passed I saw him, the man in the photograph.
I saw the glow of the cigarette first, held in his heavily veined hand. I saw his thighs, then his shoes. He placed one leg on the chair opposite him. Reflexively I took a picture.
Suddenly I was aware that someone was calling my name. The group had moved on and my friends were beckoning me to catch up. As I left I saw his hand go up, I assume to take a drag on the cigarette.
I never saw his face.
I have no idea who he is, or why he was there.
I think I will always look at this photo and wonder.
It’s probably why I love it.