life’s but a walking shadow

Life's But A Walking Shadow

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Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more.

These words Shakespeare gave to MacBeth. I've often thought that if Shakespeare lived today he might well have been a street or documentary photographer. Or perhaps a director of angst-laden films. His characters often appear torn between an attempt to portray confidence in the notion that their lives have some importance in some conjured grand scheme of things, yet are haunted by a pervasive existential doubt that, ultimately, the universe probably cares nought.

Shadows, walking or still are, as any photographer knows, ephemeral, being wholly dependent on the temporary position and strength of an external light source. Any moment might well be their last. Similarly, this moment, any moment, might well be our last too. Heard no more.

I've always been a people watcher. On several occasions, across 25 years or so, I've stayed in the small Moroccan coastal town of Essaouira. It's one of my favourite places for street photography. I'm particularly drawn to a section of road leading down from the medina to the harbour. Both sides have high walls and an equally high wall marks the end of the road. At first it was the textures, the varying colours and the strong morphing shadows, on the walls that attracted me to this place. It was afterward I noticed the life. All day long people walk up and down this road, sometimes several times a day. For some time each day I would sit quietly, propped up by a wall, camera poised. And wonder where they are going? For what reason? Are they, perhaps, outwardly fretting but inwardly strutting, or vice-versa? How many moments do they have left? Inspired by Shakespeare, capturing little snippets of life, shadows and walking shadows.

Man dressed in dark djellaba walking in front of a stone wall with lamppost and shadow of a lamppost
Man dressed in grey djellaba with walking stick walking in front of a stone wall watched by a cat
Man walking in front of a stone wall with shadow of a lamppost
Man cycling past in front of a stone wall with lamppost and shadow of a lamppost
Man dressed in brown djellaba walking in front of a stone wall with lamppost and shadow of a lamppost
A man in tradition Moroccan clothing walks past a lamp post and it's shadow, carrying a bag of fish
Man dressed in dark djellaba walking in front of a stone wall casting a strong shadow
Man carrying musical instrument and ornamental dagger dressed in white djellaba walking in front of a stone wall
Woman dressed in pink djellaba and shoes walking in front of a stone wall
Man dressed in brown djellaba walking in front of a stone wall
Man dressed in blue djellaba walking in front of a stone wall
Arabic man in sunglasses cycling past in front of a stone wall
Man dressed in yellow djellaba walking in front of a stone wall
Man dressed in djellaba walking in front of a stone wall casting a long shadow
Man dressed in djellaba walking in front of a stone wall with shadow of a lamppost
Old man in traditional clothing walks by in a candid street scene from the medina in the coastal town of Essaouira, Morocco
Man carrying musical instruments dressed in white djellaba walking in front of a stone wall
Man dressed in brown djellaba walking in front of a stone wall with shadow of a lamppost
Man dressed in blue djellaba walking in front of a stone wall with shadow of a lamppost
Man carrying carpets dressed in djellaba walking in front of a stone wall
Elderly man dressed in green djellaba walking in front of a stone wall with lamppost and shadow of a lamppost
Woman dressed in green djellaba walking in front of a stone wall with a green sack balanced on her head
Man dressed in dark djellaba walking in front of a stone wall with lamppost and shadow of a lamppost
Man dressed in brown djellaba walking in front of a stone wall with lamppost and shadow of a lamppost
Man dressed in dark djellaba walking in front of a stone wall with lamppost and shadow of a lamppost
Man dressed in djellaba walking in front of a stone wall carrying colourful balloons
Man dressed in green and white striped djellaba walking in front of a stone wall
Figure dressed in dark djellaba and white socks walking in front of a stone wall with shadow of a lamppost
Man dressed in djellaba walking in front of a stone wall

© 2023 Gary Hill. All rights reserved.