Categories
50s to 90s Photography

Photo of the Kuwait Shoreline Taken in 1903

I don’t recall coming across a photo of Kuwait’s shoreline that was older than this. I was doing some research for an upcoming post when I went down a rabbit hole and ended up coming across a report from 1903 that contained photos, maps and some interesting information on Kuwait. One of the photos was the image above of Kuwait’s shore which I hadn’t seen before, but there were also some other ones inside I also hadn’t seen which I’ve shared below.

The report is made up of 2 volumes and the original copy is part of the British Library: India Office Records and Private Papers . The report was compiled by Captain H. H. Dowding after his visit to Kuwait during the winter of 1901-02 while the photographs were supplied by Baron Curzon of Kedleston.

You can actually download the whole report as a PDF from the Qatar Digital Library. If you want to check it out, click here.

Categories
50s to 90s Photography

British Bank of the Middle East – Kuwait, 1952

The British Bank of the Middle East was originally called the Imperial Bank of Persia and operated out of Iran. In 1952 it abandoned the Iranian market and renamed itself to British Bank of the Middle East. In 1959, BBME was acquired by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited (HSBC).

Last week while looking for information on an old photography studio called “Studio Sharq”, I ended up coming across old photos of BBME in Kuwait (they were credited to Studio Sharq). HSBC scanned old photographs of two of their old branches, the first location that opened in 1952 as well as their second location that opened in 1964.

Along with photos of the exterior of the bank they also have photos of the interior and of the opening ceremony.

If you want to check them out, click here.

Categories
Design Photography

Design Highlight: Zen Villa, Wafra

This might be one of my favorite projects so far in Kuwait. Inspired by Kuwait’s traditional courtyard houses, the Zen Villa features a deliberate minimalist design intended to envelop residents in a panoramic view of surrounding palm trees and horse barns. It was designed by the local award winning firm Fikrr Architects, and is located in Wafra.

Each room in the Zen Villa was designed with expansive windows spanning the full width of the walls, connecting the family with the surrounding nature.The interior palette and materials were influenced by the surrounding landscape, echoing the desert through hues of yellow, beige, and green. This approach harmonizes the villa with its environment, infusing it with the warmth and tranquility of the natural world outside.

Even the roof was given attention to. By maintaining a clean and uncluttered roof, the architects overcame the challenge of heat impacts that would be generated by heavy equipment such as AC units which could then travel into the center courtyard.

For more  photos of the villa, check out their instagram @fikrr and their website fikrr.com

Photos by @ngphoto.com.pt

Categories
Animals & Wildlife Information Photography

Wall of Peace will NOT be Demolished

Here’s some good news to start the day, according to TEC, the Wall of Peace sculpture by Kuwait artist Jafar Islah which is located behind Burger King on the Gulf Road will NOT be demolished as part of the refurbishment of the waterfront.


Even more good news, I managed to find out the names of the two saluki dogs owned by the Dickson’s from my post the other day. Brian Duggan, the author of Saluki: The Desert Hound and the English Travelers Who Brought It to the West managed to dig up the old letters Zahra had sent him and in the letters she mentions the names of their two dogs, Dhabaan and Khataaf.

Update: Not only will the Wall of Peace not be demolished, but according to TEC it will also be restored to it’s original marble state!

Categories
50s to 90s Animals & Wildlife Photography

The oldest photos of pet dogs in Kuwait

This post was supposed to be a silly one, but after I started writing it I went down a rabbit hole and found some interesting information, so bear with me.

A couple of weeks ago I got access to Tarek Rajab Museums’ private photography archive, and part of their collection were the family photos of the Dicksons. While going through those photos, I came across a number of photos of their dogs. They were beautiful shots and I joked that they were probably the oldest photos of pet dogs taken in Kuwait. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that was probably true. How many people in Kuwait had cameras back in the 1920s let alone one they’d use to take random photos of their dog? Not many.

I found five beautiful photos, some taken outside the Kuwait wall which you can clearly see in the backdrop of the photos. H.R.P Dickson lived in Kuwait with his wife Violet Dickson, and daughter Zahra Freeth from the 1920s until the 1940s.

I started off by trying to find the names of their two dogs, so I took out my copy of H.R.P Dickson’s “The Arab of the Desert” to see if he mentions them anywhere, and ended up finding a whole chapter where he talks about Salukis. Turns out they were popular dogs in Kuwait at that time and mostly used for hunting. Also, unlike other dogs, Salukis were not considered “najis” (unclean) so were allowed to enter the tent and lie on the rugs and mats. But, Dickson never mentioned his dogs, so I started to think maybe they weren’t his.

I kept digging and it led me to buying the book “Saluki: The Desert Hound and the English Travelers Who Brought It to the West“. In it there are a few pages that talk about Dickson’s dogs and turns out they actually did get two Saluki dogs in 1929 while in Kuwait. The dogs accompanied H.R.P Dickson everywhere he went because he found them to be a good conversation starter with tribesmen, and his wife Violet was mostly responsible for walking them daily. I couldn’t find the names of the dogs, but at least I got verification they were in fact their pets.

I believe the young girl pictured above is their daughter Zahra.

Update: I managed to find out the names of the dogs! Brian Duggan, the author of Saluki: The Desert Hound and the English Travelers Who Brought It to the West dug up photos Zahra had sent him and on the photos she had written the names and the dates of two male salukis, Dhabaan and Khataaf.

Brian also discovered that in the book The Arab of the Desert, HRP Dickson mentions the name of his female saluki as well, Turfa.

Categories
Photography Television

Visiting an Old Village Hidden in Rumaithiya

Last year while visiting the set of the Netflix show, The Exchange, I saw an old Kuwaiti village being constructed for another show. The village was looking amazing and very realistic, but I couldn’t take photos to share since the show hadn’t been released yet.

A few weeks ago I remembered the village again and got in touch with Beyond Dreams, the studio behind The Exchange to see if I could pass by to take some photos. Turned out my timing was perfect since they had built an even larger village since my last visit, and it was for a new show that is airing on TOD and beINDrama this Ramadan called “Zaman Alajaj” (Time of Dust).

The village is huge, if you stand on one side you can’t see the other, there are alleyways, animals, and even a small farm with real vegetables growing. There is a street filled with shops, a village square, homes, and even a graveyard. So many details and all very realistically reproduced.

What is even more incredible is that the village is located in the suburbs, and not out in the middle of the desert. So one minute you’re stuck in traffic, and the next you’re walking around an old village with no cars in sight. The feeling is very bizarre, and because there are no tall buildings outside the wall, it really adds to the feeling that you’re in a village in the middle of nowhere.

All the structures are real and functional, so it not just a facade. If you open a door there is something behind it, it could be someone’s home, or it could be a shop selling spices, there will be something. The details are all there, and I remember it was the same thing when I visited the set of The Exchange.

Zaman Alajaj is being produced by Abdullah Boushahri, and the same team behind The Exchange. The story follows Wijdan (played by Mona Hussein), a woman seeking refuge from her abusive father and ends up infiltrating this simple village. It’s a drama with an intense and suspenseful storyline filled with conspiracies and conflict.

The series was produced for TOD and so will air exclusively on TOD and beINDrama. If you want to check out the trailer, it’s now up on @tod.tv

Note: This is a private set built for the show and so it not accessible to the public.

Categories
50s to 90s Kuwait Photography

Photos of the First Flood – Kuwait, 1934

Last week I was given access to the Tarek Rajab Museums’ private photography archive, and over the coming weeks I’ll be sharing my favorite finds. But, since it’s raining today I figured I’d share the first batch of photos taken after “The First Flood”.

I posted about the first flood back in September, but the photo I had found then was low resolution. That’s why I was pretty surprised to come across three high resolution photos in the Tarek Rajab Museum’s archive.

In Kuwait, the year 1934 is sometimes called Sanat Al Haddamah (the year of destruction) since torrential rains caused a lot of destruction to the old town of Kuwait.

Within only an hour, Kuwait witnessed unprecedented torrential rains that reached 300mm and caused raging floods and waters that swept away a third of the mud houses in Kuwait.

These three photos show the aftermath of the flood.

Categories
Photography Promoted

Promoted: AAB World Certified Used Cameras & Lenses

AAB World, my favorite photography store, recently opened a new store called AAB World Marketplace that specializes in selling certified used cameras and lenses, new old stock products, as well as open box items.

I passed by the store last week to check it out and they had a pretty large selection of cameras and items on display. The used cameras and lenses are carefully selected and rigorously tested before being put up for sale. They also have little notecards in front of them with a description on the condition which I thought was pretty cool.

Their “new old stock” products on the other hand are brand-new items that have just been in their inventory for an extended period of time. They’re being sold at discounted prices and could be very useful for people with old cameras or drones.

Finally, their open box items are products that were part of their showroom displays or maybe items that had their packaging damaged during shipping or customs checks.

With the opening of their marketplace shop, AAB World now also have a permanent trade-in service. You can bring your photography gear and their team will evaluate your items on the spot. If you agree to the evaluation, they will offer you a voucher which you can redeem at their stores.

The trade-in items are what they end up offering as “Certified Used” at the AAB World Marketplace and each item goes through rigorous checks and comes with a 3-month warranty.

The AAB World Marketplace is open daily from 10AM to 10PM except on Fridays when they open at 2PM. They’re located in the basement of Symphony Mall in Salmiya in place of where their old service center was. Their Instagram account is @marketplace.aab

Categories
People Photography

Moff Gideon at the Kuwait Towers

Giancarlo Esposito, the actor who played Gus on Breaking Bad and Moff Gideon on The Mandalorian was in Kuwait this past weekend for the comic festival. While here he ended up visiting the Kuwait Towers and he took some cool fun shots which he ended up posting on his instagram account. Check them all out here.

Categories
Photography

What’s the Camera?

A while back I came across a very cool photo of the late Amir Sheikh Sabah taken on a boat sometime back in the 80s. What caught my attention was the camera he was holding in his hands. Sheikh Sabah was known to love simplicity and steered away from extravagance so I was very curious to know what kind of camera he was using at that time. I asked a friend of mine (@diam89) whose also camera obsessed to help me find the camera and after a bit of investigating she did!

Turns out the camera in his hand was a Canon AF35ML compact point-and-shoot. A pretty simple but very capable camera that was released in 1981 and cost around 100KD back then. It had a very bright fixed 40mm f/1.9 lens and the camera was completely automatic making it very easy to use.

I ended up finding a very clean one on eBay for around 35KD and bought it so I could use it. I’m now currently shooting some black and white film with the camera with plans to develop it at @vo.thedarkroom once I’m done.

If you’re looking to get into film photography and are looking for a camera to get, this is a good option with a nice little story behind it. You can find a bunch on eBay with starting prices of around 15KD.

Categories
Photography

35mm Films at Urban Outfitters

Urban Outfitters are selling 35mm films for those of you who are looking. I can’t tell if they’re reasonably priced or not because the prices in the market keep fluctuating depending on availability and where you’re getting them from (@qomrahfilm is cheaper for example). But, one advantage Urban Outfitters has is that they’re conveniently located at The Avenues.

They have three types of films available:
Kodak Gold (ISO 200) – KD5.750
Ilford HP5 Plus (ISO 400) – KD7.500
Kodak UltraMax (ISO 400) – KD7.500

But they also had a 3-piece pack of Kodak Gold they’re selling for KD16 (so KD5.333 per piece).

Categories
50s to 90s Photography

Phone box on the side of a dirt road

I’m in love with this photo taken by Ian Caldwell of a random phone box on the side of a dirt road somewhere in the north of Kuwait. He took this photo sometime in the last 60s early 70s and if you look carefully you can see a couple of bedouin tents in the background.

Categories
50s to 90s Photography

Kuwait Towers Under Construction

I came across this photo taken by Tor Eigeland of the Kuwait Towers under construction sometime in the 70s. What I found interesting about it is that it’s the only image I’ve ever seen of the towers at night while still under construction.

Categories
Photography

Kuwait at Night Taken from the Space Station

Photo of Kuwait at night taken by an astronaut from onboard the International Space Station with a NIKON D5 and a 400mm lens on May 6, 2023.

via Reddit

Categories
Photography

I Found a Wall

Yesterday while driving around futoor time, I randomly came across the largest wall I think I’ve ever come across. It was huge, really tall, and super long. Right away I saw an opportunity to take a photo so turned around and headed toward the wall.

I really have no idea why this wall is there. It’s not connected to any other structure, it’s just a wall.

If you’re looking for an interesting backdrop for your shoot and want to check this place out, here is the location on Google Maps.