Hi Ali, tell us a bit about yourself and how you got into traveling?
Hi, first of all thank you for this interview. My name is Ali Berrada, I’m a 29 year old photographer from Morocco, currently traveling in Asia. I have to say that I’m lucky my parents are big lovers of travel, my dad especially. He has been to more than 60 countries. When I was a kid I used to go with them, and I guess I got addicted to it as I got older. I also think that I don’t need to physically move to make a step forward, it all starts in my mind. Everything is already moving, the whole universe is traveling with or without me… I’m just trying to follow the flow.
When did the love of photography come into your life? Was it before you started traveling or after?
I think it just came at the same time; I travel to discover places but also to find my true self and I think it’s the same for photography. I take photos because I can’t get enough of how beautiful everything is. They are both completely linked, the more I travel the more I want to take photos and vice versa.
Tell us about your trip to India; what interested you the most? Was there anything that surprised you?
As a photographer, but also as a human being, India was a big dream. I love their spirituality, their culture, the colorful places and it’s also super easy for street photography. It’s like a giant open studio; you just grab your camera and click. I have to say that even if I was expecting it to be different from everything, I was still really surprised. It’s super crowded, can get messy from time to time, but I will always remember this- a goat was sitting near me on a 5 hours bus ride on a hot day in Rajasthan. Nothing can beat this.
You took multiple portraits in India of unique and interesting people. Were they welcoming and how did they react to you taking their photos?
Taking photos in India is the easiest thing, even for portraits. You can get really close and no one tells you anything. Usually people ask for a photo, which I don’t like as much since I prefer candid photography. And then, it gets super hard when it comes to women. I had to go to the most remote villages to find what I wanted.
What is special about Rajasthan?
I would say that in some parts of Rajasthan there is still this mystical atmosphere of old India, where you don’t understand what is really happening. It’s like nothing you have ever seen or felt before; it’s all magic and beautiful.
What advice can you give to those planning to take a trip to India?
Don’t plan ahead your trip in India. Don’t be afraid to get lost, go off the beaten path, follow your heart and the light and you will enjoy the best of India. The country is increasingly touristic. There are some places like Varanasi, which are still really amazing but if you just go to the tourist places you might miss everything.
You travel to some cities where a lot of people would feel unsafe to go. How does that feel and what is the reward?
In my mind I don’t think that this city or that city is unsafe, you can be in the safest town and still get into real trouble. You just need to be aware of your environment, of course don’t try to play the hero, and know your limits in every place. Therefore, I don’t think that there is any reward because I don’t tell myself ‘wow that was really dangerous.’
Ali Berrada is a Moroccan traveler who caught our attention with his authentic style of photography. His portraits capture the character and emotion of each person he has worked with. For him traveling is about finding his true self and his photographs represent the memories of all the beauty he has seen around the world.