“Follow the light! Follow the light!” It sounded like a scene from the 1980s film “Poltergeist,” but it was, in fact, award-winning photojournalist Ron Haviv giving some high school students sound photographic advice. The light was falling on a corner in the Berber town of Tinjad at the base of the Atlas Mountains and was fading fast. Cameras at the ready, the students trained their lenses, composed and made photographs that captured the spirit of this astonishing country.
The students, from the Ross School, a private school in East Hampton on Long Island, embark every year on what is called “M Term,” an approximately three-week educational journey to countries across the globe. This year Haviv and I accompanied them to the heart of Morocco.
“Stories transcend experience,” said Alexis Martino, dean of the Field Academy and principal organizer of the trips. “They make the whole greater than the sum of the parts. I immerse my students in storytelling to challenge them, to engage them with the unfamiliar, to encounter people whose life experiences enlarge their world, and to provide the opportunity for them to narrate their own stories of possibility and the human condition.”
We traveled across the country from ancient Fez through the Middle and High Atlas Mountains into the dunes of the Sahara Desert and finally, Marrakesh. Our goal was to help the students improve their vision, photographically speaking, and learn to tell stories with their images. It is always very fulfilling to see them grow over the course of the week, especially with a muse as inspiring as Morocco. This is a small sampling of what they saw.
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