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corrupt colombia


As a photographer without a press-card i’m heading alone to Colombia with expensive gear. Somebody can give me any advice how I should handle corrupt police officers who just take away your gear. Or: how crazy is it to think I can manage alone in Colombia photographing?
Any information will be very helpfull to me…
(maybe it’s good to know that I don’t look like mike tyson and are the prototype gringo: blond, blue eyes…)


by Floor Geurts at 2008-12-10 21:36:12 UTC Amsterdam , Netherlands | Bookmark | | Report spam→

Colombia has changed drastically over the years. I have been here for the last 8 and never had problems with police or never had any police asking to hand over money or my equipment (with or without press cards). Now depending on where you plan to go is a different story because in some towns, not on the cities, you may run into people that do not want to be photographed and that may lead into loose your gear. You just have to ask around before you head to the country side and see the situation before hand. If more questions feel free to ask me. regards,c.

by Carlos Villalon | 10 Dec 2008 21:12 | Bogota, Colombia | | Report spam→
Thanks Carlos,
And you don’t think that’s because you don’t look young and innocent? I was hoping that, but things as guide books and forums confused me. Can you recommend towns or area’s in Colombia (I’m looking for non-touristic area’s assuming there are some at the coast for example). Are people open enough to communicate with someone who speaks only basic Spanish (that is something I want to learn by practice, as I did in Marokko with the France language last year, which worked out far better than I’d expected)

By the way, i like the photograph of the two guys looking up suspicious, you knew the guys or had to talk afterwards…

by Floor Geurts | 11 Dec 2008 09:12 | Amsterdam, Netherlands | | Report spam→
Floor, both coasts at this point are where most of the cocaine smuggled into the states comes from and that may be a problem when photographing randomly on the streets, specially in small towns out of tourists radar. Colombians love foreigners so small intents of speaking spanish are welcome but I would watch out in those hamlets. But, there was once a young Japanese guy who landed here with almost no spanish language knowledge who managed to photograph drug dealers and smugglers with great results and why? Because his people skills are great, you can watch his essays at Vu agency and also in Time.com photo essays. regarding the two guys looking suspicious, really don’t know what pix was. Anyway just come over and your best knowing before hand what you up to and forget about those guides like lonely planet and so on. They are about tourism and not journalism.

by Carlos Villalon | 11 Dec 2008 16:12 | Bogota, Colombia | | Report spam→
Hi Floor,

the best thing you can do to start your trip in Colombia, is to forget about all the prejudgements that crowd your mind.
You haven’t been there yet, but you already talk about curruption even titling “Currupt Colombia” your post. That’s bad. This won’t lead you anywhere. If you’re willing to work as a photojournalist the first thing you should learn is to see through your eyes, not through what the guide books say.
When I was much younger, I travelled to the Neatherlands and all the guide books said that dutch people are terribly boring, and almost dumb. If I should have listened to this books, I would have changed my destination.

Of course Colombia it’s a difficult country. But it’s all about your attitude with the people there.

good luck

by | 12 Dec 2008 16:12 | buenos aires, Argentina | | Report spam→
Yeah I probably still believe to much in the written word.. It’s offcourse just a guys opinion, but thanks for the advice. (my ticket is in the pocket by the way). What you might know is for what books I should look (writers) in order to read something more realistic about Venezuela and Colombia (politics, culture etc.)


by Floor Geurts | 12 Dec 2008 20:12 | Amsterdam, Netherlands | | Report spam→
Hello Floor,

Before my first visit back in 99 I too was apprehensive. I’ve since been back 6 times and enjoy it more each time. Only once did I have what might be considered a questionable situation. While on the beach in Cartagena photographing my wife and kids in the water, standing ankle deep with D2x & 70-200VR in hand three young guys came up to me and asked if the camera was mine. In spanish of course. I responded yes and they left me alone. Thinking back it could have been an issue, but at the time I thought nothing of it. Felt no fear or reason to.
My advice is enjoy yourself and take lots of pictures.

groeten uit California.


by Andy de Groot | 16 Dec 2008 05:12 | California, United States | | Report spam→
Floor, Carlos doesn’t look young and definitely not innocent.

by Angel Valentin | 26 Dec 2008 14:12 | Miami, Fl, United States | | Report spam→

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Floor Geurts, student medicin Floor Geurts
student medicin
Amsterdam , Netherlands
Carlos Villalon, Photojournalist Carlos Villalon
Bogota , Colombia
Bissau , Guinea Bisseau
Andy de Groot, Photographer/Designer Andy de Groot
California , United States
Angel Valentin, Photographer Angel Valentin
San Juan , United States


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