Kuwait Bans Cameras With Big Lenses -- Because People Might Get Worried [Updated]

from the huh? dept

Update: And, um, this story just got odder as the original article has been updated to state that the reporter got it flat out wrong, and no such ban has been instituted by the Kuwaiti government. I'm not exactly sure how one goes about getting such basic information totally wrong, but consider the rest of this post here for posterity, rather than accuracy.

This one is just confusing. According to the LA Times, Kuwait has announced that cameras with big lenses (i.e., DSLRs) are banned for use in public in the country -- with an exception for "journalism purposes." If it seems unclear as to why DSLRs were singled out, while smaller point-and-shoots and camera phones are allowed, it appears that folks in Kuwait don't understand it either. The best they can come up with is that many people haven't been "exposed to art," and won't know what a big camera is for.
What most Kuwaiti photographers have come to wonder is how such a decision could be reached by authorities, especially considering that digital cameras and cell phone cameras have the same abilities. What most people think of photography as a hobby has become a bit misguided due to the fact that the country has so little exposure to art. While using a DSLR, passersby may wonder if the camera is being used for the wrong reasons.... What often happens is that a big black camera tends to worry people. Taking a picture of a stranger would seem like much less of an issue if you were using a more discreet camera or even a cell phone.
If you thought some laws in the US didn't make much sense, at least you can be happy knowing that other countries are even more bizarre.

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  1. identicon
    B, 24 Nov 2010 @ 11:43am

    kuwaiti's are silly

    I live in Kuwait currently working here. They are some of the most idiotic people I have ever dealt with. It doesn't surprise me they would make such a law. The majority of them are dessert people. They haven't gotten out of the stone age quite yet.

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