An oil engineer's UAE photo archive from the 1970s

[United Arab Emirates - oil exploration]. Photo negative collection of oil production in the UAE.

Sharjah, United Colour Film Co. and Apollo Studio & Stores, 1970s.

380 strips of photo negatives, each strip comprising up to 4 negatives: a total of more than 1000 photo negatives (digitised image files included). Many in their original plastic or paper slips, in 14 original envelopes. Stored in a cardboard box.


Impressive private archive compiled by an oil engineer living in the United Arab Emirates around 1977 and 1978. Several envelopes bear the name "Owayshek", suggesting the French engineer Joubrane Owayshek, active at Suez Lyonnaise des Eaux, as creator. A large part of the photographs show offshore platforms from various perspectives, including bird's eye and closeup views, as well as oil rig workers going about their business. Some of the views are quite spectacular, capturing the platforms amidst a deep blue sea by day and at night, sometimes while flaring gas, causing huge jets of flame. Another part of the set documents travels around the Emirates, showing off landmarks including the Al Badiyah mosque, the oldest mosque of the Emirates, Fujairah castle with the impressive backdrop of the Al Hajar mountains, the Blue Souq market hall in Sharjah, and the Zayed Sports City Stadium in Abu Dhabi, as well as visits to family and friends, a wedding, a camel safari, and the photographer's wife climbing a palm tree.

Several envelopes rather worn, mostly around the openings; photo negatives extremely well preserved. A unique set documenting the state of oil engineering in the Emirates during the early years of independence.