Photography in Libya

Discussion in 'Geographic Location' started by John Jarosz, Nov 22, 2009.

  1. John Jarosz

    John Jarosz Member

    Messages:
    149
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Chicago area
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    I have the possibility to travel to Libya on non-photographic business. I am contemplating taking my Fuji 6x9 with me for things I may catch along the way. Does anyone have any recent experience on travel to Libya? I'm aware of all the visa issues and all that is already in process. We would be (in effect) guests of some agency of the government there, but I'd like to hear any advice about my plans. Thanks very much.

    John
     
  2. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    35mm
    Hi John,

    I spent the summer there on a business trip perhaps similar to yours.
    Few in the general population speak English or other European languages. As I do not speak Arabic, to get around town on my own I asked someone to write the destination on a piece of paper that I showed to taxi drivers. Worked fine.

    Tripoli is a friendly place, smiles and interest with foreigners etc. It has been a closed off place for a long time, so people may be curious, in a friendly way.

    Only a small part of the city in and around of the old town is good for walking on foot. I ventured into the old town several times. It is a maze, full of small bazaars and shops. You will find lots of young men from south of Sahara there, and they are much more likely to speak English. These people tend to get the very worst jobs, and often try to continue to Europe. It was fun to chat a little with them, and I was welcome to take photos afterwards.

    I do not recommend you to take candid street shots, especially not of women, which is regarded as offensive. People will get angry with you. But it often is ok to photograph the men after a chat or after announcing your intention without words. Architechture and nature is of course ok to photograph.

    Do visit Leptis Magna, which is a beautiful roman ruin city just a couple of hours drive from Tripoli.

    Try to get in touch with the small diplomatic community or the community of foreign consultants. I found them very welcoming - they are few and I guess that they enjoy find someone new to speak to from time to time.

    What other countries do you usually work in?

    Please let me know if there is anything else I can help you with.
     
  3. John Jarosz

    John Jarosz Member

    Messages:
    149
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Chicago area
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Thanks Erik,

    Sounds like what I expected. Was also wondering if I can expect interference from the "authorities"?

    How does one get in touch with the local foreign consultants or diplomats? I wouldn't know where to start.

    This is the most exotic location that has come up so far, usually it's much more mundane spots in the US or Europe.


    Thanks

    John
     
  4. Dave Pritchard

    Dave Pritchard Member

    Messages:
    266
    Joined:
    May 24, 2009
    Location:
    North Caroli
    Shooter:
    Medium Format
    Start with US embassy in Tripoli. Ask them about local conditions and customs. They are your best resource, I think. Those foreign service officers are great people.
     
  5. John Jarosz

    John Jarosz Member

    Messages:
    149
    Joined:
    May 17, 2006
    Location:
    Chicago area
    Shooter:
    Large Format
    Yikes, I did not realize the US has an embassy there. Thanks

    john
     
  6. Eric Rose

    Eric Rose Subscriber

    Messages:
    4,414
    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2002
    Location:
    Calgary AB,
    Shooter:
    4x5 Format
    just remember not to take photos of anything that could be construed as of a military nature or national security.
     
  7. johnnywalker

    johnnywalker Subscriber

    Messages:
    2,260
    Joined:
    Sep 23, 2002
    Location:
    British Colu
    Shooter:
    Multi Format
  8. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    35mm
    They even have their own rock band!

    There is a restaurant at the Green Square, just across the old fortress. It is one of the best spots to have a non-alcoholic beer after work. You are likely to meet some foreigners there too.
     
  9. Erik Petersson

    Erik Petersson Subscriber

    Messages:
    683
    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2006
    Location:
    Stockholm, S
    Shooter:
    35mm
    I would enjoy seeing some of your photos after your trip. Why not post them here? :smile: