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advice on photographing in Venezuela

Hi, I am going on a trip to Venezuela for one month from late June to late July. I am wondering if anyone could provide some advice on dealing with customs officials in terms of getting my kit into the country. Does anyone have any experience photographing in Venezuela? I have a simple digital 35mm kit with a 70-200mm, 50mm, and 16-35mm, 1 body, powerbook, and general accessories, and a very small carbon fiber gitzo tripod. If someone could provide some insight or advice regarding customs or general advice about how the officials in Venezuela receive foreign photographers it would be much appreciated. I won’t be on assignment so I will not have paperwork from any client. Thank You very much for your time.

by ben ferrari at 2007-05-14 00:31:50 UTC (ed. Mar 12 2008 ) nyc , United States | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Just go in as a tourist. I’ve been in and out half a dozen times in the last couple years, each time with at least my personal gear (once with much more) and never had a problem.

by Art Rothfuss I I I | 14 May 2007 00:05 | Rochester, NY, United States | | Report spam→
Thanks Art. Much appreciated.


by ben ferrari | 14 May 2007 00:05 | nyc, United States | | Report spam→
Depends on where you go. Caracas is generally no problem. With some of the oil towns, the officials will be more thorough to make sure the business folks have their paperwork in order. I can’t remember for sure but I think it was in Maracaibo where a writer I was with was detained for 30 minutes or so. I haven’t had any trouble personally though.

by Tommy Huynh | 14 May 2007 02:05 (ed. May 14 2007) | San Antonio, United States | | Report spam→
i live in caracas and have never had a problem entering the country with my equipment. id use the word photographer instead of journalist or photojournalist if asked. though in the couple dozen times i have entered the country ive had no problem. sometimes when my bags go through the customs x ray they ask whats in the bag, i tell them it is photo equipment and they wave me on.

be sure to get in a proper cab at the airport. robberies in pirate airport cabs are all too common. if you don’t have someone picking you up make sure you only get into a cab with an official airport taxi line. as you walk out of baggage claim , keep walking straight out of the terminal and there will be a long line of black SUVs. that is what you want. do not go with any one offering a cab inside the temrinal, even if they have an “official” ID card.

by David Rochkind | 14 May 2007 13:05 | Caracas, Venezuela | | Report spam→
Thank You Tommy and David…

by ben ferrari | 14 May 2007 19:05 | nyc, United States | | Report spam→
I had no problem with customs the times I’ve been to Venezuela. David is right about the cabs at the airport, and be careful in Caracas as well. The few times I carried my cameras outside of my bag (between taking photos), I got all sorts of warnings and strange looks from people on the street, though no one ever bothered me. I felt pretty safe there, but I do know people who have had gear stolen or have had guys demanding their gear on the street, so just be careful. It’s a bit of a crazy city, but if you pay attention to your surroundings and try blend in, you should be fine.

by Angela Rowlings | 15 May 2007 00:05 | Boston, United States | | Report spam→
David and Angela said it all already, keep your eyes open, dont look too flashy, or too professional and everything will be fine. the authorities won’t be much of a problen as long as you forget the worlds “press” and “photojournalist” and use photographer or fotógrafo. However they are not so hard with international press. Sometimes you will be asked what the pictures are for but it’s normal and the regular people will be thrilled on appearing on press. Dont climb the “barrios” in caracas alone, and don´t accept any candy from extrangers ;)
Drop me a line when you´re here, allways is fine to meet a LS colleague

by JuanTxo Ettedgui | 15 May 2007 17:05 | Caracas, Venezuela | | Report spam→
I have not been there for years but follow the situation there daily. There are political issues for the press and safety issues in many areas. Here is a good link page for both sides http://www.venezuelatoday.net/ definitely need a fixer for most projects.

by Roger LaFrance | 17 May 2007 03:05 | Grand Junction, United States | | Report spam→

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ben ferrari, ben ferrari
Nyc , United States
Art Rothfuss I I I, Photographer/Dad Art Rothfuss I I I
Rochester, Ny , United States ( ROC )
Tommy Huynh, Travel & Corporate Photog Tommy Huynh
Travel & Corporate Photog
Houston , United States
David Rochkind, Photographer David Rochkind
Mexico City , Mexico
Angela Rowlings, Photojournalist Angela Rowlings
[undisclosed location].
JuanTxo Ettedgui, Photographer, Designer JuanTxo Ettedgui
Photographer, Designer
Caracas , Venezuela
Roger LaFrance,  Engineer Roger LaFrance
(SNG Engineer)
Grand Junction , United States ( AAA )


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