Arab people in general don’t like to be photographed, as they are very private people. This I learned when living in Qatar, they just don’t like to be photographed even if asked politely, and this includes their beautiful buildings which I had helped to developed and build over the last 8 years living in Qatar. You can see from my picture collection of Qatar that the photographs are mainly limited to the Corniche, as you can see here and there. Other areas, most likely I was being chased by a guard saying that the area was off-limits, even though I have membership of the Qatar Photography Club. I wonder why they need to make the city so picturesque if you can’t frame it in the form of photograph.
Anyway, because of this experience, as an occasional Urban Photography enthusiast, I am always cautious whenever taking pictures of mosques, people or interesting buildings in Arabia. As I could never know whether the picture I take might violate their privacy. However, to my surprise, in Yemen, its different. Yemeni people, especially the children are happy when somebody takes their picture, either alone or with friends.
They may not know how to pose properly, and they may not necessary want to keep their funny faces as a hard copy, but posing in front of a camera to them is a great experience. So this is what happened on my visit to Yemen, wherever they saw me with my camera, the children would follow shouting “sura… sura…?” meaning photo, photo. And straight away they want to pose in front of my camera with their big smiles.
So instead of me asking their permission, it was the other way around of them following me to take their picture.
However, taking pictures of Yemeni women is still a bit difficult, they are the reserved ones.