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What do you recommend I photography in the UAE
My friend Riyad is from Abu Dhabi. We met in college in the 70’s and have remained friends and stayed in touch. He has invited me to visit him and his family in Abu Dhabi in March. As I’m a photographer who leads photo tours to destinations like Cuba, Tuscany, Ireland, and France, and to locations throughout the U.S., I’m always interested in scouting new locations for potential photo tours. I’m excited to be going to photograph with an eye for bringing a group of possibily 10 to 12 back in the future.
My questions are these:
Do you believe it’s currently safe for Americans to travel to the UAE and Oman, particularly in light of recent travel bans by the current Republican administration? I’ve read about retaliation by the UAE by detaining high-profile travelers, like basketball stars. Should I be concerned?
Would I, or my group of 10 to 12 photographers, have any issues photographing in areas throughout the UAE?
Are local people amenable to being photographed, or should we stick to landscapes, cityscapes and animals?
When I travel to other areas, I like to see local architecture, meet local people, observe local customs and ways of life, and photograph people going about their daily lives. Places like open air vegetable markets, fish markets, and local shops are usually of interest. With that in mind, what two or three places would you suggest I not miss while I’m in the UAE and Oman?
Rad A. Drew
Rad Drew Photography
My friend Riyad is from Abu Dhabi. We met in college in the 70’s and have remained friends. He has invited me to visit him and his family in March. As a professional photographer and photo tour leader, I lead trips to places like Cuba, France, Tuscany, Ireland, and locations throughout the U.S. I’m always looking for new locations that I think will be attractive to my clients. I plan to visit the UAE and Oman with an eye for bring a group back to the area to photographer later in the year.
My questions are these:
Do you believe travel to the UAE and Oman is safe for Americans given the recent travel ban imposed by the Republican administration? I’ve heard stories about UAE retaliation by detaining high-profile American travelers, like basketball players. Should I be concerned?
How is photography viewed there? I know photographing any government or military sites is forbidden, but what about general landscape, cityscape and portrait photography? Are there rules or customs related to photographing that I should be aware of?
When I travel to a place, I like to see as much authentic life as possible. Visiting places like open air markets, fish markets, agricultural locations, etc. are important to me. Given these goals, can you recommend places I should definitely see and photograph while in the UAE and Oman?
Thanks for your thoughts.
Rad Drew Photography
I would say travel is still safe, and can’t imagine you’d have any problems.
I would [I]not[/I] expect to do much photography of “locals” anywhere in the UAE, and you might need to adjust your expectations of the culture in general. The UAE is not agrarian by any means, and no one who lives there really buys anything more at an outdoor market than people do in your city. Probably [I]less[/I], actually, as I don’t think I’ve ever seen even a small farmers’ market. You won’t find outdoor vegetable markets, though there are a few souks in Dubai that are mainly for tourists, and are architecturally interesting. Nearly everything is imported across all industries.
Only about 10% of the population is Emirati, and they don’t interact much with visitors or expats. They [I]do[/I] spend a lot of time shopping for luxury goods, enjoying fine dining, going to Starbucks, etc., but it would absolutely not be acceptable to photograph an Emirati in these settings. Your friend can probably give you more guidance or maybe introduce you to some environments where the normal restrictions might be more flexible.
The most interesting things to photograph in the UAE will be the modern architecture, from mosques to skyscrapers, I think. The desert can be pretty as well, and there are some other interesting natural areas.
Oman has a nice souk in Muscat, but it’s still mostly a tourist market. Oman has incredible natural landscapes and some fun desert forts, so those could be interesting. The Musandam peninsula is beautiful as well, but could be logistically challenging for a tour group.