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Masters of Photography

Lesson 35 of 54

Creating the Maroc Project


Masters of Photography

Lesson 35 of 54

Creating the Maroc Project


Lesson Info

Creating the Maroc Project

(mysterious music) In 1978 French Vogue asked me to do a trip to Morocco where I'd never been before. And I came down, I stayed in Mamounia Hotel in Marrakesh. I found it very exotic, very interesting. And then over the late seventies and eighties I had a few visits here doing fashion stories. I was never here for that long, maybe five, six, seven days maximum. And then in 1992, 93, 93, 1993. I ended up coming down to Marrakesh. The magazine rented a house for me. And then another magazine heard I was here. And I ended up being here doing various jobs here. Advertising and editorial, for a period of five weeks in total. They flew different models in from New York for me and also down from London. And in fact, at that time there was a wonderful part of the shooting was an entire day that I spent doing nudes on Kate Moss. That was really a wonderful experience and I ended up doing the shooting on her 19th birthday. So it was a very interesting trip. So the reason that this was importan...

t this trip, was I was here for five, nearly six weeks. And at that point my wife said this house that we're staying in is wonderful. Why don't I rent the house for the family and we'll bring all of your relatives down from Scotland and you can stay in this house. We can rent this house for Christmas time you know? Over Christmas and New Year. Which I thought was a horrible idea you know. The idea of Christmas and New Year with all of my family in a Moroccan house was a bit odd. Anyway in July of that year she said I've already booked the house and paid the money. So of course once you pay the money if you're Scottish then you're definitely gonna go. And we ended up staying 10 days in this house and we actually had a fantastic time. I at this point really began to love Morocco. And love the country, the people, the whole history of the country I loved. I decided the following year to rent another house and the following year rented again. Different house and the souk and the market. I just developed really a love for Morocco over these couple of years. And then I ended up in the house that we're in right now. Which is the guest house of my house. And I started to build. In 1996 I decided to build my own house in Marrakesh. In the Palmery just outside. I really just at this point wanted to spend part of the year here. 'Cause I was living in New York but I wanted to spend part of the year in Morocco. And I loved it. Now at this time, just out of the blue, the Prince of Morocco who is now the king. Contacted us through actually an Italian company. And he wanted me to do a book on Morocco. And to call it Morocco. Which I later changed 'cause I preferred Maroc, which is the French title for Morocco. And it was really a perfect time for me 'cause I was building this house here. I was able to bring a crew over from New York. And I began what turned out to be 39 days of travel throughout Morocco. The prince emphasized to me that he wanted it to be my project and as long as I was just photographing in Morocco then he was happy with any of the pictures. So I began the project. And I knew that I had tremendous freedom. I just began conceptualizing the project. Began to really study history and geography. And laying out how I would do this project. How I would do possibly in the beginning six days of shooting. Take the film back to New York. Process the film. How was I going to present the final work? Was I going to do it in a more traditional way and I decided to do that. I decided to do it mainly in black and white and duo tones. And later expanding that into cyanotype prints, into platinum prints. I came across this store in the souk in Marrakesh. And I found this pile of old vellums that were books on magic with a lot of Arabic lettering on them. And I decided to take those back to New York. I washed a lot of these pages and treated them and pressed them. And then I did directly on to these papers. I did platinum prints of the very shots that I had done in Morocco. So of course I was going to, as I would always do, I was of course going to fill the book with landscapes, with still lifes, and of course most of all with the people of Morocco. I worked in the Deep South and part called Laayoune. Which is really deep in the Sahara with of course lots of classic sand dunes. I photographed the Saharawi people that live in the desert there just outside of Laayoune. And I photographed politicians in Rabat. Businessmen in Casablanca. I photographed a lot of course in Marrakesh, which I was very familiar with in Ouarzazate, which is on the other side of the Atlas. I photographed in snow and in the desert. So I basically did of course all my research, which is important for students to do. That I did not only history but of course the geography. I was plotting out the whole time how did I want to make it like a diary? In fact when we completed the project, I found out that they were going to publish the book in Italian and English and not in Arabic. So to make that work which I thought was sad because Arabic lettering is so beautiful. I actually contacted this famous calligrapher who was in New York at that time. And I decided to write on all of the photographs, the title of the images in Arabic. And he was actually the calligrapher to the Shah of Iran at one point. Of course he had this superb Arabic calligraphy. That made the book not only in Italian and also in English. But of course with the Arabic lettering it made the book in Arabic as well. So I really did it as a caillet, which is French for diary. And it was really at one point it was going to be called 39 Days in Morocco. And I thought you don't need that. I ended up just calling it Maroc. The book was printed in Italy. It was done on a 10 color press. Which was really wonderful. I was able to separate some of the color images, which were really not true color. They were cyanotypes. And I did a lot of work with inks and layering on some of the images done in a very simple way 'cause it was before the computer. And really created this textural book on Morocco. As I said with the 10 colors we were able to separate duo tones, black and whites from the color images. I did the photographic layout but I had a very good typographer work with me on the graphics of the book. My early training in graphics is very helpful to me and I did the, how the cover was and if you look at the cover of that book, when I saw the printing of the cover. I had felt that missing on the cover there was this blue yellow. And missing on the cover of this blue yellow black. I felt a little smudge of red would be good. I was able actually on the plate itself to get some red ink and just with my thumb smudge some red onto the cover. For me it was very nice. It was a real art project. And of course in between doing this fine art project, which I think is really important for photographers to do. To carry on with their own work. Of course I would be going back into New York and working for Italian Vogue, French Vogue, German Vogue, English Vogue. Shooting celebrities for Rolling Stone et cetera, et cetera. And in the nighttime doing platinum printing, cyanotech printing on 100 year old, 200 year old paper. That was very much at that period of my life. That was what I was doing you know. As well as directing TV commercials virtually at the same time so it was quite difficult and complex. But it was really a wonderful, wonderful project, Maroc. And the end, the prince, the king, was delighted with it and he loved it and he said it's his favorite book on Morocco.

Class Description


  • Albert’s tips and tricks on landscape, fashion, portraiture and still life photography.
  • Simple lighting techniques using natural light and studio light
  • Simple tips on preparing for portrait shoots
  • How to create incredible portraits using just two $10 bulbs
  • Albert’s tips and tricks on landscape, fashion, portraiture and still life photography.
  • Simple lighting techniques using natural light and studio light
  • Simple tips on preparing for portrait shoots
  • How to create incredible portraits using just two $10 bulbs


Learn how Albert creates his amazing photographs on location and in the studio using simple explanations.

Albert reveals his shoot secrets on how he photographs Presidents, Hollywood stars, music’s greatest artists, landscapes, nudes, chimpanzees and still life. We follow him on location in Morocco, Paris and in his studio in New York. You will find out where he suggests you look to get inspiration, how to approach a portrait session, see how to light like Albert.

We show you exactly how Albert works on these images after the shoot, it’s all about Albert giving you his ideas and advice and helping you see and create better images for yourself.

It’s not about what camera to use, it’s about how to see and develop ideas, concepts and narrative to make stunning photographs.

As Albert says..."You have to stay switched on"


  1. Meet your Master

    Albert welcomes you to his course.

  2. Learn from the journey

    You will learn how to use your passion and dedication to get to where you want in photography. Albert explains to us how his own journey developed from early days in Scotland to creating the biggest photography studio in LA, and then establishing his studio in New York.

  3. Using inspirations

    Albert teaches you how to use inspiration from your past and present to form you work. Learn his tips on the relationship between technique and creativity, and how to create work that shows your own personality.

  4. Photography is stopping time

    Learn from Albert how he discovered his passion for photography and how to apply his "stopping time" ethos to your own work.

  5. Albert's library of ideas

    Join Albert in his own library where he shows you which books and artists he suggests you look at and study for inspiration and motivation. He also reveals his tip for buying inexpensive photography references.

  6. Tips on preparing for a portrait shoot

    Albert teaches you how to work with your subjects to get a great portrait shot. Learn his tips for putting people at ease when they are in front of your camera.

  7. Setting up the studio

    Learn to control the shooting environment. Learn how Albert begins to set up a studio session. Albert shows you how he begins to approach a portrait session in the studio.

  8. Understanding studio collaboration

    Albert teaches you about his different types of work ranging from test shoots to editorial shoots and advertising shoots. He explains his thoughts and techniques to help you understand how to make each a success.

  9. The importance of casting and hair & make-up

    Albert teaches you the importance of communication between yourself and a team. Albert also explains his tips on working with hair and make up to create a look.

  10. Foreground studio set up

    You will learn how Albert moves out from behind the camera while setting up for a shoot. He shows you how to look at your light from a variety of perspectives.

  11. Studio session with a model - set up 1

    Learn how to work with your subject. A unique insight, Watch and learn Albert working in the studio, explaining his thoughts and showing us exactly how he shoots.

  12. Studio session with a model - set up 2

    Learn how Albert creates his iconic beauty shots. See and listen to Albert as he explains his thought processes when creating this type of shot.

  13. Studio session with a model - set up 3

    Albert teaches you another of his lighting techniques. Watch and learn as Albert explains exactly how he creates a beautiful portrait.

  14. Picking the best shot

    Albert discusses and shows you his techniques for selecting the best shot from a shoot.

  15. Working with photoshop

    In this lesson you will learn how Albert uses post production to further refine his images.

  16. Creating a portrait of Alfred Hitchcock

    Discover the idea and thought process behind Albert's iconic image of Alfred Hitchcock and what it was like to photograph one of the world’s greatest filmmakers.

  17. The gigantic question... Colour or black and white?

    Which should you use? Albert explains his own ideas to you on how and why you might use one or the other.

  18. One day with Kate Moss

    Albert explains his ideas and how he created his iconic images during a day photographing Kate Moss.

  19. Learn to have your ideas ready

    Albert encourages you to have faith in your own creative instincts and how to always think creativity to persuade a client toward agreeing to your photographic ideas.

  20. Using Polariods

    Discover ways to go back and create projects and new images from your older work. Albert shows us the technique he used to create his iconic Running Man image.

  21. Creating beautiful photographs of hands

    Learn to appreciate the expressive nature of photographing hands. Albert explains some his most defining hand shots.

  22. Controlling natural light

    Discover Albert's tips on how to make the most of natural light and how Albert controls it in his images.

  23. Shooting a monkey with a gun

    Albert teaches you to always be on the look-out for new projects, and to recognise the power of conceptual thinking. Learn how monkey and a gun came to be created.

  24. Choosing your format

    In this lesson you will learn about formats. Albert describes different examples from various formats he has used as guidance, discover tips on how to use each type of format and his camera of choice.

  25. Composition and lens

    Get tips and suggestions on which lens to use and when. Albert gives you his thoughts on using the compositional elements available to you in order to produce a better photograph.

  26. Shooting landscapes. The Isle of Skye

    Albert teaches us how for him, its essential to raise landscape photography above the "picture postcard" shot and give the images more meaning. Albert explains the approach to his Scottish landscape series of images, one of his most unique, personal projects.

  27. Planning and ideas for a landscape shoot

    Albert details for you how he carefully prepared for his Isle of Skye project: taking care to be as organised as possible, whilst also remaining open to taking advantage of the unexpected.

  28. Creating still life images

    From shooting bed pans in L.A., to photographing Tutankhamen’s possessions, Elvis Presley’s iconic gold ensemble, and Neil Armstrong's space suit. Albert teaches you to persevere in the face of difficulty, and to always inject your still lifes with meaning.

  29. Photographing the Lost Diary

    Albert shows you how one simple idea can blossom into the creation of true art. An entire advertising campaign was based on his magical concept: that of an intergalactic anthropologist’s photographic diary, depicting tribes on earth 30,000 years ago. Discover how he brought this unique vision to life.

  30. Shooting album covers

    This lesson we go behind the scenes of a shoot with musician Sade. Albert reveals how he produced her beautiful Love Deluxe album cover, and how important it is to make your subject feel comfortable on set.

  31. The Strip Search Project

    Albert tells you how he prepared and created this immense project. He suggests ways for you to create projects and images that document your own corner of the world in images.

  32. Shooting Las Vegas landscapes

    Albert tells you how he prepared for the Las Vegas project, how he approached and shot his landscapes there. He passes on to you how the difficulties he faced helped him, and will help you, to develop as a photographer.

  33. Photographing Breaunna

    Albert tells you how to always be alert to chance encounters. He tells you how he met and was inspired by Breaunna. He explains how some of his most recognisable Strip Search photographs of her were created .

  34. Balancing daylight, God bless America

    Find out why Albert stopped to shoot a bill board. His serendipitous discovery reaffirms his main piece of advice: always remain “switched on”.

  35. Creating the Maroc Project

    Learn how Albert put together his exquisite Maroc book. You will be inspired to create your own projects and to look for potential in every aspect of a project, giving added meaning to your photographs.

  36. Creating the Maroc shoot

    Albert describes his own, personal methods and ethos in creating the Maroc project. Find out what equipment he used, how he documented his journey, and what he shot to create this iconic book.

  37. Photographing sand dunes

    How did Albert capture the breathtaking, rippling sand dunes of Laayoune, Morocco? Find out as Albert encourages you to be innovative; to always strive to add something new and different to scenes photographed by others before you.

  38. Photographing Moroccan children

    Preparation is not the death of spontaneity. Albert explains some his most breathtaking, impromptu shots of children in Morocco, Albert shows you how he suggests you intertwine careful planning and impulsivity to ensure you never miss your shot.

  39. Advice on making portraits

    Learn from Albert that the way you communicate with those you’re photographing is always visible in a shot. In this lesson Albert suggests tips to capture your perception of a subject into a single picture.

  40. How to be alert to finding photographs

    Learn to take advantage of chance situations and moments. Listen to Albert reveal how some of his most famous photographs were created by remaining flexible and alert to what you are seeing around you.

  41. Making a portrait of Mike Tyson

    Albert delves into the inspiration behind his famous Mike Tyson photograph, reaffirming that preparation before a shoot is often key to transforming your vision into a reality.

  42. Creating intense colour in a photograph

    Albert creates intense colour in an image. Listen to Albert as he takes you through his preparation process, and the techniques he used to construct one of his most well known images, Red Devil.

  43. Portraits of rap stars and a Golden Boy

    Discover the relationship between a subject and the camera itself. Legendary Rap stars and Albert’s Golden Boy photograph feature in this lesson. Albert discusses facial geography.

  44. Photographing Jack Nicholson

    A Jack Nicholson photoshoot for Rolling Stone. Albert explains how the legendary snowy shot came to be, and gives you an insight into how he photographed the iconic actor and filmmaker.

  45. Creating a portrait of David Cronenberg

    Be inspired to get creative. Ingenuity and inventiveness take centerstage in this lesson as Albert describes how he produced his unique photograph of David Cronenberg for Rolling Stone — the old-fashioned way.

  46. How to light only using two $10 bulbs

    This is a incredible lesson where Albert demonstrates to you that expensive lighting equipment is by no means a necessity! Discover how to use two $10 bulbs to create a dramatic, high contrast shot. Simply genius.

  47. Studio fashion set up 4

    See the fashion photography master in action as we watch each step of this shoot. Watch and hear how Albert manages the body language of the model and the simple set up and lighting to create a fashion shot.

  48. Studio session with a model. The geography of a face

    See how Albert creates art with the profile of a face. Learn how to work the geography of a face with Albert's simple lighting techniques.

  49. Look inside the picture

    Albert gives suggestions on how to progress and review your photography. Find out his tips on how to look "inside" the picture.

  50. Creating memorability in an image

    Learn Alberts tips on the skill of quick thinking and analysing your surroundings. Albert uses an example where he used his surroundings to create a unique and surreal shot for Italian Vogue.

  51. Combining nudes and landscapes

    In this lesson we reveal one of Albert's very latest projects. Learn as Albert teaches you how he created a stunning series of images by combining nudes with different landscape textures.

  52. A perfect print

    Albert explains where the passion began for printing his own work and how it has developed. Listen to his overview on how critical it is to print an image on the right type of paper in order to create the perfect print.

  53. The business side of things

    Learn how Albert runs each aspect of his business. We travel with Albert to one of his exhibitions in Italy where he explains the why and how of the prints on show.

  54. Conclusion and farewell

    Albert summarises some fundamental learning points he has acquired over his 40 year career. He leaves you with some poignant tips and bids his farewell, "onwards and upwards".


Richard A. Heckler

"Unless you're Mozart"...this course is an invaluable asset. I'm a pro, humanitarian/documentary photographer, & wilderness...and I've learned much from the 40+ sessions here. This is truly a Master best thing to being with Albert. And although I could watch studio sessions forever, this course offered a very balanced curriculum of technical information, artistic encouragement and guidance, and a open, generous window into the thinking of a gifted artist and photographer, sifted from decades of first class experience. Kudos to all involved. Excellent!

a Creativelive Student

I purchased my first CreativeLive class in 2011 and have continued to purchase many classes over the years. I have learned so much from the many great instructors. This one is not a technical class that will tell you to set your camera at f4, 1/60, ISO 400 and you can get this shot. If you are looking for that, there are many other options. If you have a solid working knowledge of photography, this class is so much more. The way it was filmed is like you are there with him in conversation or in the room with him watching him shoot. To see and understand the how and why he does what he does. Not to take anything away from other classes that have helped to give me a strong understanding of photography, this is my favorite CreativeLive class so far.