Saudi Arabia

Old City, Jeddah

Rules and regulations

The rules and regulations can be staggering for a non-native. Among the cardinal rules is that there is no regulation against photography but it is not welcome. So I happily snapped away with any and all of the cameras I had at my disposal and was only occasionally stopped.

Specifically, the religious police stopped me in the fish market – twice. I shot freely throughout the market except in one area where they were cleaning shrimp. Then in another area I ran into two men, one of whom was uniformed, who sternly warned me not to take photos. At a domino game in the street, one young man was incensed and got up from the table. The other three older men were nonplussed. I was warned continually not to photograph women even while they wore their abaya and niqab, which covered all identification.

Even at the camel station, the Bedouins did not care to have any photos. Then, there were two occasions where I was stopped and asked to photograph. At a hookah bar, my driver asked and received permission for me to shoot.

Recently I have become adept at shooting from the hip and other positions. This has allowed me to fire the camera without notice. The DSLR is loud but mostly the shutter is not noticed as long as my face is not at the eyepiece. The Canon and Panasonic cameras are nearly silent so stealth photography is pretty simple.

Cleaning shrimp moments before I had to stop photos

They asked me to take the photo

And what is there to see?

He asked for a picture too, rug seller

Dominoes in the heat of the day


Hookah bar

Camel milk for sale, street style

Got milk?

He moved when he saw me, too late I got it



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