Behind the lens

Nick Harwart: Sensory overload in Morocco

Where are you based?

Germany, Dortmund. Heart lost in Lisbon.

How do you make a living?

I’m a photographer and a semi-professional actor.

What are you motivated by?

I’m pursuing a certain way of life where everything isn’t predictable. Nowadays everything can be looked up online and I find it satisfying to just go with the flow. I have a camping bus, which is the perfect way to keep things fresh. This quote by Henry Miller is one I try to live by:
“Develop an interest in life as you see it; the people, things, literature, music – the world is so rich, simply throbbing with rich treasures, beautiful souls and interesting people. Forget yourself.”
Basically: stay hungry, stay foolish.

What impact has travel made on your life?

The beautiful thing about travelling is how it somehow makes it possible to escape the laws of society. You’re dropped into another sphere of unexpected help, unexpected satisfaction, unexpected goings on. You can stop time and just focus on the moment you are in. Travel isn’t always easy, especially off the common paths, so I’ve had to learn to be more capable, more aware.


5D mk ii , 35mm 2.0 and/or 24-70 2.8mm, 50mm 1.4

Kids playing marbles in a backyard in Tangier. When I first arrived in Tangier in 2014, it seemed scarier and rougher than I find it now. It was all in my mind, it just took time to adapt to the pitch-black alleys at night and to accept that you will always meet people, even in the weirdest spots and at any time.  

This man is offering me a tea for free as I didn’t have money. He gives tea to the harbour workers of Essaouira. I’ve found we are mirrors in that what we offer to people will be reflected back. I had one situation where I ignored a guy and he asked me if I was a racist. So I had to laugh and explain that I can’t go with every Moroccan man who offers me tea or I would end up not getting anything done.

The main Moroccan cities have their own colours. This image was taken in Marrakech, as you can see they favour red. Chefchaouen is blue, Tangier – white, and Fes is painted mainly in yellow ochre.

Overnight on a rainy, cosy Chefchaouen night. I slept on this rooftop for 5 bucks, which you can do in any Moroccan city to save money. Standing on a rooftop inhaling all the sounds and lights can be very beautiful.

A “donkey-taxi” waiting at Bab Doukkala, Marrakech. During my first trip to Morocco 2014, I thought I wouldn’t be able to stand the stress my camera caused with all its continual negotiations. On my return trip two years later, I found that if I wanted to make images that showed more than souks and camels in the desert, I had to learn to relax in chaotic places.

A man preparing food in the souks of Fes. In Morocco I learned to say ‘no’. A local man explained that the locals will only respect you if you follow your own will.

Family business in Fes.

The port of Essaouira.

Essaouira. This is good example of the way I work, often trying to layer an image with a story in fore, mid and background.

Female farmers near the holy city of the Moulay Idriss.

Nick Harwart   |   @allthecoloursandblue