Lens and Light

A Friendly Face Crossing the Water

Monitor photographer R. Norman Matheny was in Rabat, Morocco, in 1989, taking pictures of the boatmen who ferry passengers across the harbor to the suburb of Sal. Mr. Matheny took several shots of this gentleman, getting closer and closer until the white-haired man suddenly shouted "Boo!" Photographer and subject shared a laugh.

Most ferrymen stand as they row the ancient craft, pushing on the oars so they can see where they're headed. The tourist trade keeps their profession alive, but some local businessmen and shoppers also take the ferries back and forth. The ferrymen's competition is the Hassan II, a modern bridge less than a mile inland, which also carries cross-harbor traffic.

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