Images and Video by Charles Pates, Vice President, Creative Director
A coterie of creatives from Morocco, Canada, the U.S., Greece, Iceland, Argentina, England, New Zealand and Korea recently arrived in the very same place at the very same time: the Scarabeo Stone Desert Camp, 20 miles outside Marrakech.
They dropped their makeup bags and camera cases and backpacks and a lot more onto the Agafy Desert floor and prepared to photograph the spring Garnet Hill catalog, which stars our latest linen collection.
Scarabeo is a well-appointed settlement, a “glamping” destination popular with adventurous tourists content to swap electricity, air conditioning, and indoor plumbing for a night sky so inky dark you want to reach up and caress the Milky Way.
Dawn and sunset bring the light photographers cherish. Our crew arrived in December, and as the sun rose, Marrakech drivers were scraping ice off their car windows; by late afternoon, the temperature could reach 80 degrees in the desert sun. Linen layers felt just right.
The backdrop you see in our desert shots is the snow-topped Atlas mountain range, its peaks nearly as high as those in the Alps. Crossing the desert with Dromedary camels were Berbers, an ethnic group indigenous to North Africa. (The Dromedary is the single-hump model, the Bactrian, the two-hump camel native to Central Asia.)
Fans of the classic film Casablanca will find that city about an hour’s drive north, on the Atlantic. Perhaps we’ll shoot there some day. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow, but soon, and for the rest of our lives.
Meantime, in Marrakech…
Classical Arabic is the official language of Morocco, but French, English, and Greek are also heard among the din of busy souks (markets) along the labyrinthian walled Medina of Marrakech.
The Bahia Palace
This was once the opulent residence of a grand vizier. It boasts four towers, one at each corner for each of his four wives.
After six days, the shoot was wrapped. We had captured what we needed, and along the way met warm people who inhabit an enchanting part of the world. It’s tradition that on the last night, a “strike party” is held. The photo set is struck and dinner is served. In Morocco, the team drank sweet mint tea and ate tagine, a savory and sweet dish named for the earthenware in which it is cooked.
After every shoot, our Creative Director thanks each team member in his or her native language.
It seems a fitting tradition for a company that gathers people, products, and ideas from all over the world.
Enjoy the full soundtrack at PatesTapes