Engagement Shoot: Algeria

Friday, October 3, 2014 | Algiers, Algeria

Alex and Ryan in the Place de l'Emir Abdelkader, on their first day in Algiers.
Although my door is always open, I don't get a lot of visitors here in Algeria.

My longtime best friend Ryan was one of the few people to visit me when I lived in Morocco a few years back, and along with his fiancée Alex, just became one of the few to visit me here in Algeria.

Ryan and Alex's choice to spend their one week of vacation in Algeria apparently raised some eyebrows among friends back home, but made sense to us. Back in our Georgetown days, Arabic obsessed and wanting to get off the usual tourist map, Ryan and I had sat in our dorm room researching the possibility of a summer trip to Libya and Algeria. (Conclusion: not feasible.)

Though those places had seemed so inaccessible then, now that I actually live in one of them, Ryan was keen to finally visit. Alex, who has also studied and lived throughout the Arab world, was similarly curious to see if all my Algeria hype was justified.

It may not have been as hot as the Sahara down south, but touring the ruins at Djemila at midday in August sure felt close.
In several epic days of walking, I managed to show them all of the main sites of interest in Algiers, from the Casbah to museums to Ottoman palaces. In between, we visited the Tomb of the Christian and Roman ruins at Tipasa, had long seafood lunches by the sea, spent evenings sipping beer on my terrace, and even took one day to shop in the market and cook Algerian food at home.

Ryan had hoped to see the Sahara, but since the mid-August temps down south were averaging around 45°C/115°F or more each day, we stuck to the Mediterranean coast, taking one multi-day trip east of Algiers to visit the Roman ruins at Djemila and rugged shores around Bejaia, in the mountainous Kabylie region.

While we saw and did lots, mostly what we did was take pictures.

After a year of fumbling around and learning how to use my dad's old Rolleicord, I've now come closer to mastering the device, and have begun to build a reputation for myself as "the guy with that big old camera". My colleague and good friend Kamel even enlisted me a few months back to shoot some photos of him and his fiancée, which I printed and framed for them as a wedding gift.

So when Ryan and Alex came to Algeria, they asked if I could snap pictures of them during our outings, to give them some material for a forthcoming wedding website and maybe even some nice photos to frame one day. I gladly obliged, and spent their week here concentrating half on making sure we had fun and the other half trying to find the ultimate shot that even their professional engagement photographer won't be able to beat.

I ended up instead with a lot of double exposures and unfocused shots, but there were a few nice ones as well. (See the full set from their week in Algeria here.)

Ryan and Alex, thanks for the visit!

Three amigos on the terrace.


Unknown said...

Photos look great!

Unknown said...

I'm so proud of you Andrew, when you talk in algerian language i believe than you are an algerian citizen, Bravo....I wish you a good moments in my country ...NOW

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