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Photographer's Note

Photographing woman is not allowed in Yemen. Although legal consequences are not likely, your camera and possibly even your life are very much at risk.... despite the fact that when over there, I am always fully dressed from head-to-toe in black Muslim garb.

I remember walking a windy mountainous pathway through the souring mountains of rural Manaka. It was very early in the morning and we kept coming across small groups of woman walking their donkeys to the wells to fetch water, missing time and time again the most beautiful photo opportunities as the lighting was just exquisite that particular morning. We eventually came across the most gorgeous old couple Ive ever seen (they must have been about 300 in the shade). I couldn't bare it any longer. I had to photograph them. Besides, they seemed friendly enough to comply...so I sheepishly raised my camera in the air above my head as a weapon in surrender and said "sourat?" (photograph?) OH MY...did she comply...she exploded...came storming towards me screaming herself blue in the face, picked up a sharp stone on the way until she was right under my nose. Screaming on the top of her lungs in Arabic she motioned stabbing gestures to my chest (bearing in mind that I was standing on the edge of a jagged cliff and only slight push would have sent me to an untimely death) the only thing I understood was that she was saying something about a 'photograph?' she then chucked her stone to the ground, turned and muttered under her breath..."gggg ggg ggg sorat...ggg ggg!" as she walked back to her husband, who had just spectated the whole situation with very big eyes. He probably knew that unpredictable anger very well and in wisdom chose to keep out of her way.

This particular photograph was taken in the city of Sanaa in the streets nearing the Babal Yemen gates. A crowd of woman had gathered across the side walk and I just quickly raised my camera and stole a photograph as I walked past (hence its not the sharpest photo ever) and wisely just kept walking as though nothing had happened. As you can see, this did not go unnoticed by the little boy (possibly assigned to keep an eye on them to see that they behave) who had jumped about a meter high out the commotion that had now erupted and ran for me, screaming in Arabic and waving his arms madly in the air. He was screaming so much I though he was going to start foaming at the mouth and collapse writhing on the floor. My mom who had been walking with me at the time panicked and started screaming at me as well. I just calmly put my eyes to the road ahead and walked like I couldn't hear anything.

I must admit...that was quit a rush as it was in a busy city street and onlooking men could have gotten involved at any time.

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Additional Photos by Tamatree Wong (tamatree) Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 18 W: 0 N: 37] (243)
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