20131218-YEMEN-0145
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Sura… sura…!

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 were fighting to be closest to my camera...

They were fighting to be closest to my camera…

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.

A smile with a 'pose' for the camera

A smile with a ‘pose’ for the camera

So instead of me asking their permission, it was the other way around of them following me to take their picture.

They asked me to take their picture as I walked down the hill from Shibam

They asked me to take their picture as I walked down the hill from Shibam

Their Mom asked me to take their pictures with their Dad and send it through our travel agent

Their Mum asked me to take their pictures with their Dad and send it through to our travel agent; unfortunately Mum still too shy to pose in front of my camera

These group of men in Sanaa, are very happy to pase with my husband, eventhough except my husband, none of those gentlemen get to see the final product of the photograph

This group of men in Sanaa, are very happy to pose with my husband, even though none of those gentlemen (except my husband) gets to see the final product of the photograph

However, taking pictures of Yemeni women is still a bit difficult, they are the reserved ones.

I can only manage to take picture of Fatima here, once she's a little older, she'll be too shy

I can only manage to take pictures of Fatima, once she’s a little older, she’ll be too shy

Filed under: eJournal, Travel Notes

About the Author

Posted by

I used to live as an expat and travel around the Middle East. After 10 years working in the Arabian Gulf I am now retired and living in the UK with my British husband but still retain my interests of further travels and exploring new horizons in Europe.

7 Comments

  1. Pingback: The Yemen | Nins' Travelog

  2. They are the same in India – everyone wants their photo taken. It’s fun. Then in Bolivia and other parts of South America they don’t like it at all.

    Like

  3. Pingback: 2014 | Nins' Travelog

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