In Fes, we were in awe at men in tanning vats wearing heavy, protective rubber boots (in photo above) as well as those who wore nothing at all on their feet as they traversed the pits or sank into caustic dye to color their leather pelts.
All in a day’s work, we suppose.
But enter the stalls of Marrakech or Tangier, and you may be amazed as we were at rows and rows of babouche slippers (usually worn by men) piled into bins or arranged on the walls.
For women and children, the color spectrum opened up as slippers came adorned or plain and ready for trying on.
The foolish man seeks happiness in the distance. The wise man grows it under his feet.James Oppenheim
But it was the men who worked with no shoes who truly made us stop and stare. With only their bare feet, they powered up their homemade lathes to turn spindles, shape wooden pieces for toys, or craft mementos for tourists to take home.
One craftsman especially caught our attention not only for his continual work in cramped conditions but also for his congenial, contented nature. He sat cross-legged (each day, every day he told us) in a small, alcove of a workshop. Using only his feet and hands, he crafted some of the most artful combs we’d ever seen out of pieces of horn.
Let your dreams outgrow the shoes of your expectations.Ryunosuke Satoro
In India, we lined up for a long-awaited view of the Taj Mahal. But one thing caught our attention. Those who wanted to tour the grounds around the building were required to remove their shoes. And so, in that sea of footwear, were details of the crowds that day — from sizes to shapes to textures and price. Oh, the stories these shoes could tell!
Outside a restaurant in Jaipur, two men made a living charming cobras right beside their feet — and we were happy to keep our distance while watching!
A woman can carry a bag, but it is the shoe that carries the woman.Christian Louboutin
And finally, back in the States, a woman in Asheville, North Carolina, pushes a baby in a buggy up a steep sidewalk in — what else? — red high-heeled shoes! After all, style’s important!
For more entries in this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge, head to Ann-Christine’s post to check out shoes and feet from around the world.
In the meantime, watch where you’re walking. And take steps that get you where you want to be.
Rusha & Bert