Journal

Shooting in Bahrain

A farewell drink at Corners and the Dragon Hotel turned into four glasses of white wine and tipsy conversation with some exceptional company, followed by grape mint shisha and a plate of humus next door at Yamin Jana with my flannel-wearing, beard-growing boyfriend. So handsome, he is. Our friend Sumaya somehow foot the bill of the entire table – again – and more impressive still – smuggled two unopened bottles of champagne into the arms of Justin to take home. When asked why, she simply replied: Why not? So this is Bahrain.

Or more accurately, this is Sumaya, and if half the population of Bahrain is anything like Sumaya, Bahrain is a pretty sweet place to be. Never have I ever felt so welcome in a country other than my own, and with such hospitality and warmth.

I lived in the Middle East for just over six months, and still I only caught small glimpses of a world and culture I never imagined myself visiting, much less living. As with most things, getting to know a new place takes time. I shoot what I can, though it can be a challenge given the cultural differences.

For the most part, women aren't to be photographed without express permission, and the most intriguing places are often the most conservative. For a non-muslim, non-hijab wearing blonde such as myself, casual observation of the photographic sort almost always becomes an undertaking both intimidating and often impossible. Regardless, Bahrain is infinitely interesting. The more I learn, the more I realize I still have so much to learn.