Interview with F.H. Melim
We’ve exchanged few words with our good friend Francisco about his last mission road-tripping and documenting the empty Morocco.
Hi Francisco! How are you?
Hi I’m fine. I’m always fine! Ahah.
We just got the film photos from your trip to Morocco. So jealous! Tell us a little bit about the trip.
I’ve always dreamed of travelling to Morocco – and I’ve had several invitations through time -, but I always said I’d only do this trip on a Jeep. Eventually, it happened! Then again, it was unexpected. I only truly believed it was happening when we hopped in the jeep and zoomed South, but everything went smoothly. I’ve travelled a lot through Asia, but I think Africa has a different glowing. I felt super connected with the Moroccan people and culture and would make friends at every stop. Every trip has its setbacks, but it was all special for me, it’s a place I really want to go back to. I’ve only sent you the film shots because I think VO/MA is a really special project. And you guys deserved it, these have never been published elsewhere. I do have thousands of digital frames, but they’re just not the same thing.
Thanks man! You know how we appreciate that, and you know our obsession about film photography!
The trip was kinda improvised or you have been planning it for a while?
It was planned and improvised at the same time. I went with a couple from where I live and we have been talking about this trip for months. But we have different lives and jobs so it wasn’t as much about planning as it was to wait for the right day, loading the Jeep and zoom straight to Rabat. It was a long trip, we made about 4000km in 13 days. Merzouga, however, was really the best spot.
What would you say is the best and the worst of the life on the road?
The Moroccan people were definitely the highlight of the trip, and also the diversity of its flora and fauna. I can’t really think of anything negative, apart a few skirmishes with my best friend ahah. Or maybe the endless hours sitting on the backbench of the Jeep, but that’s part of the game on a road trip.
The best of Morocco?
The best was the welcoming spirit we found pretty much at every stop. We were always super well received and treated with care where or when someone showed us the Moroccan culture. There was this vibe that my house is your house. Then there’s also the amazing chats I had with lots of people, and mostly finding folks interested in my culture as much as I was about theirs.
Do you have any fun story to explain us about that days?
Sure! Lots of them, especially while staying in Merzouga. For instance, when we went to a hotel and one of its staff invited us for a party in the desert only for us to find out that it was only three guys drinking beer and listening to some music. In Thagazout, however, I was also invited to a party, which I was expecting to be quite regular, like going to your local pub. But it turned out to be the fanciest party I’ve ever been, hahaha, pretty crazy. Then there was the long chats with local cats in Merzouga, like my friends Bendidi and Rachid. They actually call me everyday. All epic stuff I won’t forget.
And talking about your work behind the lens, what keeps you more inspired nowadays?
Other cultures, people who believe in me, people who look at my photographs and instantly recognise them for my signature style. When that happens, I feel I am really leaving a trail about my work. There’s also my family, who respect my life choices, and then people like you and your brand who motivate me to keep on following my own path.
Any upcoming project/trip in your short term plans?
I actually don’t know, life has been pretty much a rollercoaster lately. I decided not to make plans for now, but I have various projects in my maind that will come through when the time is right. There are a lot of places that I still want to roam and discover. I’d also would love if people came up with plans for me. I want to continue following this path I’m in with ease and passion.
Thanks for your words and your photos Francisco! Hopefully we can catch up soon again.