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Wednesday, 24 November 2010


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as they say in Kuwait.....priceless

Ricoh GXR with all its lenses is perfectly all right for me. (does it sound like an advertisement? Mike, don't publish it then.)

Mike, now you've done it. I'm pretty sure Kuwait is currently locking its nuclear arsenal onto your side of Wisconsin.

Oh, you had me going for a moment there!
Then I caught the SA* up top....

Those prisons aren't all that bad - inmates can relax watching tapes on Beta VCRs.

For those who think this Kuwaiti thing is madness, a personal memory: in China last year, I went to see a former slaughterhouse (concrete awesomeness) that had been turned (of course) into some sort of mall. The guard at the entrance asked me if my camera was a DSLR, because those were banned from the place.

I have a G1; I got in.

I still have no clue why they had that idiotic policy (nor how well they bothered enforcing it, because I saw a number of Canikon DSLRs inside, happily shooting.)

This is a business opportunity. Someone should consider manufacturing a DSLR camera burqa. Perhaps Kata (heh heh)?

On a serious note, I dug into this one: the problem isn't that the Kuwaiti government went bananas on everyone, but rather that if you walk around in Kuwait with any camera larger than a small P&S taking pictures, ordinary people will stop you doing that and demand to know what the hell you are doing.

Hence it's less an action to make you go "huh???" and more an action that addresses local sensitivities. Not our culture, after all...

Mike, "nothing past Bill Monroe", exactly where I would have drawn the line myself. I bow down to your expertise. Wow, I love you man!


Looks like they have made a big step to leave the Middle Ages behind them and and are now well on their way back into the Stone Age.

Hmmmmm..... will the "dear leader" follow suit and ban any camera that is not a seagull unless it is being used by a missile launch pro?

This one's a real turkey.

This must be good news for Kodak. Wait: I wonder who owns their debt these days? Hmmm...

I Wista I had thought of this...

I have not used my D300 except for testing lens for my P67 and Hassey lens. Hence, I think I am ok.

But if you look into the Kuwait Times, it seemed the ban is for taking photo of people should be restricted to journalists not just camera. Hence, they start to talk about the issues of taking picture in the public and some tried to become landscape photographer for their hobby. Hence, I think this is just the first shell. I think once they know, through Mike, that Leica and mirrorless things exist, they would be banned as well.

Hope Film SLR or 4x5, 8x10 etc. is ok ... just has to hide my iphone and future NEX-7 purchase if I am ever there.

Just in case I put into my facebook wall to remember Kuwiat next time goes there. BTW, is this the country UN fighting for their freedom from Iraq?

I guess Nikon, Canon & Pentax better get their mirrorless system to market soon, or they'll be losing out on Kuwaiti market share.

Well, thank god (Allah? Yahweh? The Flying Spaghetti Monster? Whoever.) that they didn't ban technical view cameras, or else I'd never be able to fulfill my lifelong dream of taking pictures of the Kuwait City skyline using a camera with proper movements.

For a minute I thought I'd clicked on the link for The Onion.

You been into the qat again by any chance?

This post is an April fool's joke
or an excellent attempt at irony
and sarcasm. Right,Mike?

Oops. Sorry. Didn't see the
satire alert.

They celebrate the April Fools' Day in November and, wow, on such a level? Kuwait is probably too dry.

"The Ministry of Information's Infidel Liason." Love it.

Everybody knows al Qaeda only uses SLRs, so this is a brilliant move. I understand drones are now set to auto-target white lenses with red bands. To cover more brands, they can also pick up the various electronic signals given off by lens-based image stabilization systems.

Not sure if this is real, but all this sounds like a plan to control the media, show up with a D3s and you are in jail. Photo Journalists are the canary in the mine, Protect Democracy Now.

Let's wait until the Emir make the second 'blurts out' : "Damned all the foreign digital camera! Ban them all! Starting from today only original Kuwait's camera brand is allowed to be sold and used in this country."


Just you wait till Hitler hears about this! He should be all over YouTube any moment now.

At least they still allow photography, unlike the UK :)

Oh, I see... Kuwait's been into the qat again.

I think journalists are exempt. Just set up your own news blog, print up some credentials and dSLR to your heart's content.

I suspect that word "accredited" before the word "journalists" in most of the accounts I've seen means you can't just call yourself a journalist and get away with it. Remember, we're talking about an area of the world where laws tend to have teeth, often in ways that are fairly mysterious to foreigners. I wouldn't try it, anyway, myself.


Ah, guess this is the result of our democracy making in the Middle East. They end up just as silly as us. Next thing you know they will start a war on terror, or drugs or poverty.

It's because the phophet uses mirrorless, and so should you. Really now, it turns out this is a rumor started by some puny kuwaity newspaper looking for attention.

hmm... acording to this

“a big black camera tends to worry people” So they should be fine with Eolake Stobblehouse's pink Pentax then?

Hah! Wait until they find out they are "EVIL" cameras!

To me it is texts like this that makes TheOnlinePhotographer totally unique on the internet!
This writer, that is you Mike!, is actually able to look at this small part of reality with a sense of humour.

Thank you, thank you!

"a big black camera tends to worry people" Eolake, you'll be okay...

At least they're not as draconian as the UK who've been trying to ban ALL cameras for years. Actually you'd probably get into trouble with a pencil and sketch-pad in a built-up area there

I'm not quite sure if this is serious or not! The fact is, there ARE countries in Europe and the near East where the taking of pictures is forbidden with any type of camera.
Even Europeans occasionally fall foul of local laws, such as the group of aircraft spotters who were arrested in Greece and put on trial. They were taking pictures quite openly of aircraft using a civil airport. Unfortunately some of the aircraft were military and the Greeks made a huge fuss.
It's wise not to flash a camera of any kind around in places like Morocco and Tunisia. Even today you can get the rifle-butt treatment and a stay in a cell.

So to European eyes it is not so unlikely that an Eastern country might impose a nonsensical ban. Britain has a funny relationship with Kuwait. We buy their oil, making them multi-millionnaires, then they come to London to spend it!

Internet wildfire - yes, most of the articles can be traced back to a single Kuwait Times news article, which itself is a bit vague about the source of the news.

This might be related to the recent communiqué by the Saudi Inspectorate General that a German citizen named Stefan Daniels has recently been arrested in a sting operation in Jeddah.

Daniels is charged with attempting to bribe, on behalf of a German optoelectronics industry group, senior Saudi Interior Ministry officials to issue a decree banning the import, sale and use within the Kingdom of digital cameras using "CMOS" imager chips.

Narwat Al-Waleed, spokesman of the Inspectorate General, declared that documents found on Daniels' laptop computer revealed action plans to have the "CMOS" imaging devices — which are much more light-sensitive than the common "CCD" type used in German digital cameras — artificially classified in the Ministry's ITAR list as "ammunition".

"CMOS" devices were to be labeled as valuable to terrorists for taking pictures of sensitive Saudi facilities, including oil refineries and military installations under the cover of darkness.

The ITAR — International Traffic in Arms Regulations — agreement restricts the trade of "dual-use" technology from countries like Japan — including the powerful processors used in the Sony PlaySation — that could be used by embargoed countries to build missile guidance systems and supercomputers for weapons laboratories.

Narwat Al-Waleed declared that the Saudi government's official stance is that banning "CMOS" imager chips within the Kingdom would be preposterous, as "CMOS chips by themselves do not take pictures; the terrorists are the ones who take pictures".

So that's where all the 386 machines ended up?

"At least they still allow photography, unlike the UK :)"

Hey, you can still take pictures in the UK, just not of police, or of other people, or landmarks, or…? wait...

'"The Ministry of Information's Infidel Liason." Love it.'

Ditto here - great writing Mike - well done!

This'll destroy the camel porn industry.

Yes, "accredited" makes the issue a little sticky.

At least they still allow photography, unlike the UK

Last time I tried, I was still allowed to photograph in the U.K. Quite lucky really as I live there!

Quote from Andy "It's wise not to flash a camera of any kind around in places like Morocco"
Not sure about this - Morocco has huge tourist industry and most of the tourists I saw there this summer were happily shooting away with everything from cell phones through P&S to dslrs with huge zooms.
That said I didn't feel comfortable shooting in the markets, but only because any stallholder in shot seemed to feel that I was obligated to buy something from them. Apart from that there was no hint from guides etc. not to use cameras.

Well, I've been it Kuwait for the past couple of weeks, nothing really changed...

It is extremely hard to photograph here without the ban, I really hope this is some kind of a mistake.

P.S. I did not see the article in paper (could not find the relevan issue), but it seems to be on the official Kuwait Times site.

Okay, now I'm pissed. That Infidel Liaison *is* a primitive. The only decent country music is by the Outlaws and now the guys from Texas. The reason the IL mentioned Bill Monroe is that the IL, like the rest of Kuwait -- and the late unlamented Grand Ol Opry -- is stuck in the Middle Ages. Bill Monroe can kiss my mandolin.

As for Eolake...I was in Kuwait a couple of years ago, got on the 'net in the hotel to read TOP, saw the Joyful Nudes collection and thought, "Hmmm." I clicked on it and, yup, the site is banned in Kuwait. Eolake goes to Kuwait, he could *lose* his Pink Pentax...


Ludovic is talking about Shanghai's 1933 Slaughterhouse, a very cool, very insane building that's trying to re-cast itself as an elite expat mall. The DSLR thing is mall policy because the only people who go there are photographers taking pictures. Because Shanghai building boom is a ridiculous bubble and malls super-saturate the city but are hardly used.

The article itself: I hope Mike stays out of comedy because that was all kinds of not funny.

A great humorous piece Mike! of a not so humorous news. But I had a great time reading your post(loved the Infidel Liason position) and the great comments of fellow readers. Still laughing, a beautiful way to begin my friday. Thanks and warm regards.

@ John F Opie:

Not sure how cultural it is, really. I recently spent ten days in the US, and was harassed daily by people - guards, but also common folk - what I was doing with my camera.

And it wasn't even in DC, or NYC. It was Missouri, of all places.

I was in NYC and SF recently and had no problem taking photos either.

My guess is that the more remote the area the less tourists they have and therefore they are more aware of "strangers taking photos".

@ Erez,

Well, I don't know - but I'm glad you had no problem. For me, it got so bad that at one point I lost my temper and started arguing with some guards of some plant who insisted I couldn't take pictures because I was on private property. I was on the shoulder of US 15, so I figured a federal highway was unlikely to be private property. They threatened to call police, and I invited them to do so. But by that time, another party pooper had arrived on the other side of the road and parked in my shot, ruining it. I left, not amused. This was the last of a ten-day string of such occurrences (and admittedly the worst), and happened on the day before I was flying out - and I was happy to leave, at that point. I love that country, but that last visit was a bit much.

Kuwait Times has issued a retraction today. They failed to verify the information. No ban was issued for using dSLR cameras in public places.


Kuwait Times (the original source, I believe) has now printed a retraction. http://www.kuwaittimes.net/read_news.php?newsid=MzAwMTg4ODg1

If I could just confirm my earlier statement with a bit of evidence :


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