Mark Gillett

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Oman, Truly Raw.

with 6 comments

We are all now back from Oman and the filming project. New Year has passed and the tree will come down this weekend. We also have a puppy to collect! ha…

This last week in Muscat and nearby places has been more beautiful than I could have imagined. The work element was just a privilege and over the next two weeks you will see some of the work released. Other bits you unfortunately will not see but I can assure you it was very special and very beautiful.

But as usual it was not the work or place, alone that made it so special but the people who I was with, met and reunited with that gave me so many memories that photography and filming can never do justice to to. I have always advocated that a photographer does not need a camera or video. Its more about what you “notice” and not what you see or capture.. The camera is just a tool to share that beauty.


Emily and Becky

My daughter was blown away. A little scared at first when we wandered the souk for the staring eyes unsettled her. But not for long as we talked to shopkeepers and photographed our way with ease. She began to relax until we had a chai in a shop that maybe alone she would not have dreamt of entering…. I chatted to two Bangladeshi men who were delightful and we ordered some bites to eat. More and more Emily and her friend Becky could see the peace and respect that the people had for each other as well as themselves. How friendly everyone is. But also how the staring is merely an inquisitive nature that we all possess when presented with something so different before our eyes…

We met with some old friends who hosted us one evening…… This was one of my most memorable times this last week.


Royal Race Day – Backstage

Our filming also allowed us many privileges. We filmed horses running in the sea at sunrise, rehearsals of the Royal Cavalry for the Royal Race Day and were permitted access to a different part of Oman. A part equally beautiful, and equally friendly and trusting.

On our last day we had time to get out of Muscat. We visited the Tiwi coast which gave me so many beautiful times in the late 80’s and early 90’s.


Wadi Shab

Its changed obviously. A new highway which made it only an hour and half from Muscat instead of 4 hours. More tourists. higher prices. But what hasn’t changed is the rawness that lies beneath all that. The real Oman that will never change. I remember people 20 years ago telling me that there was only 5 years left before it was ruined. I disagreed then and still do now..

We walked Wadi Shab to the pools and swam. And once deep in the valley you really see it for all its glory… Not in a few thousand years will this change…  We climbed over the boulders for a few small kilometres and swam to cool down. We relaxed and took in the silence.. Well, a little shouting as the cool water brushed the skin.

We then drove into Tiwi for a lunch at a coffee shop.. We sat in the needed shade and they brought us our chicken, rice, biryani, mutton, bread and copious amounts of water. Finished with a sweet chai everyone was fulfilled.

But for me there was one more sort trip to make… Finally we drove a little way of the road and down to a secluded beach at the base of a wadi and swam in the sea. It blew everyone’s minds away. The beach was ours…

Our drive back to pack was quiet. Oman had really affected everyone as I know it always does. Our short trip was ending but thoughts of future trips were flooding our minds.. Trips to see more, travel the coast line down to Salalah where most people dont reach. Trips I have done many times in the 90’s and yearn to go back for… Places that will blow the mind of any hardened traveller…

Oman is special and although it is developing for tourism it’s too big for that to take a profound effect on the real rawness and nature of the country. If you haven’t visited I would certainly put this on your list of priorities… But not to tick off. Its not that sort of place. Live it and love it for what it offers… Its a real gold chest.

Gallery of a few images….

Written by markgillett

January 4, 2013 at 9:05 am

6 Responses

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  1. Oh, lovely, we long to go back to Oman in wintertime; we definitely will do next winter
    to escape the winter in Holland .. Last time we went to Oman was winter 2010/2011.
    Next year we plan to visit Musandam. We have been there once in summer, I think in 2006, the
    weather was very bad.. In Muscat we always stay in Villa Shams, Street 10 in Qurum, the street
    opposite the post office. The “hotel” is located in the olde Jemenite embassy. We stay in the
    garden room with terrace and swimming pool. There are two garden rooms which are the old
    quarters for the personnel.
    Lovely pictures of Wadi Shab, yes it changed a lot.
    My daughter has nice pictures too on
    Bye for now, Inge

    Inge van der Wijk

    January 4, 2013 at 10:39 am

    • Inge, It is a beautiful place so I hope you get to re visit soon…


      January 4, 2013 at 11:13 am

  2. great work Mr Mark , looking forward to meeting you this summer.


    January 4, 2013 at 11:10 am

    • Thanks, Hamza…. I will follow up on your FB’s soon too..


      January 4, 2013 at 11:13 am

  3. brings back so many beautiful memories… what a special place


    January 5, 2013 at 3:04 pm

  4. Once again you’ve taken me to a land I’ve never been & introduced me to some beautiful people & breathtaking scenery!! Thanx

    Allie Marie

    January 6, 2013 at 11:08 pm

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