Lens-Artists Challenge #161: Feet and Shoes

Fez tannery - man in boots

Thanks to Ann-Christine, host of Lens-Artists Photo Challenge #161, we’re looking at feet and shoes this week! And there’s no better place than Morocco to begin.

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.

Walking barefoot in Fez Tannery

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.

Yellow babouche slippers, Morocco
Colorful, yellow babouche slippers — Tangier

For women and children, the color spectrum opened up as slippers came adorned or plain and ready for trying on.

Leather shoes, Marrakesh Morocco
Colorful decorated slippers line the walls of a stall in Marrakech

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.

Crafting combs with bare feet, Morocco

A patient craftsman fashions combs out of horn and shell in Morocco.

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!

Taj Mahal shoes
A sea of shoes at the Taj Mahal

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!

Snake handlers in Jaipur, India
Two snake charmers work their magic as they sit barefooted on a sidewalk outside a restaurant in Jaipur.

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!

Lady with red shoes pushes a carriage up a steep hill in Asheville, NC.

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

28 thoughts on “Lens-Artists Challenge #161: Feet and Shoes

  1. Amy

    Those slippers line in Marrakech are fabulous, Rusha. Thank you for the tour!
    How she could walk with the red shes while pushing a carriage is beyond me.

  2. Wind Kisses

    I love all these photos, and love your adventures, more. My guess is some of those craftsmen never wear shoes at all. Interesting, isn’t it? My favorite photo is the one in Jaipur. Then again. shout out to that girl in the red platforms pushing the stroller. We all have our gifts, don’t we? Donna

  3. JohnRH

    Ha! Great series. I trust they sweep the walks well at the Taj. Obviously, I don’t wear women’s shoes, but those reds at the end look like ankle twisters!! 😱

  4. Tina Schell

    OK Rusha, I thought the men working in their bare feet, especially around caustic surfaces, were crazy. But personally I think wearing the footwear on the woman in your final image is even crazier! What the heck is she (or are others like her) thinking?! Wonderful post filled with amazing footwear and feet. Well done!

  5. Leya

    Wonderful and varied post! I do love the craftsmen working barrefoot – and those red shoes! I must chime in with the other commenters…how on earth do you walk in them?

  6. Toonsarah

    Aha, we both thought of Moroccan slippers for this challenge 🙂 But then went in different directions – how fun! I love your Indian photos and the craftsmen in Morocco too. But those red shoes in the US are the most amazing – I can’t imagine walking in them 😆

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