Kumzar/ My Camera is Upset

The Abu Dhabi skyline, shot after other options had run out, literally, in some cases.

My interest in photography grew stronger than ever after I moved to the Emirates. Maybe because it was sometimes forbidden fruit, coupled with the fascinating offerings the young nation presented, immensely ambitious and westward-looking, always trying to arrive at a compromise with its old ways. I had also recently bid adieu to my desk job and finally had the time to do the things that mattered to me. But one thing was for sure and to my disadvantage—the country didn’t take very kindly to camera-wielding culture vultures.

Prohibitive signs greeted me at almost every photoworthy spot—beaches, bridges and ports—and where there were no signs the embargo came in the form of sour looks or outright injunctions from security guards.  At the local photography club in Abu Dhabi, members almost never presented pictures of their adopted country, except the occasional tribute to its unreasonably tall buildings; the submissions were mostly records of their holidays, studio-made portraits or scenes from places they lived in before coming to the UAE.

Our dhow dropped anchor for an hour as we dived into the waters for an invigorating swim.

But so far I had failed to whip up much love for the cities’ superstructures, and my photography plans somewhat thwarted, I decided to take a trip with my favourite travel partner. One spring morning we rode a bus across the country’s northern border to the city of Khasab, and from there sailed on a dhow on the Strait of Hormuz, drinking sweet Omani tea, making small talk with wild dolphins, till we turned into the inlet that would bring us to the still remote village of Kumzar.

Don’t forget to see the photo essay on Kumzar.

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