The collection consists of 94 photographs taken in Saudi Arabia between the years of 1955 and 1960. The photos have been left in their original order as they were received from Bert Seal, ARAMCO Public Relations Department Photographer. The prints were made by Seal from copy negatives from 8x10 prints he brought back from Saudi Arabia. The Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO) was organized to carry out oil operations in Saudi Arabia under a concession agreement with that country's government.
Bert Seal, who took most of the photographs in the collection, was one of four photographers in the Public Relations Department. The other three photographers included another American, a Palestinian and a Saudi. The Exploration and Engineering Departments had their own photo departments. The Public Relations photographer captured all phases of the petroleum industry including exploration and drilling in addition to covering life in Saudi Arabia and local color. The photographs were taken for two different weekly papers, two monthly magazines, the annual report, news releases and advertisements in Middle East papers. About half of the photographs in the collection were taken when Bert Seal was placed on loan to King Saud to photograph him and Crown Prince Faisal, as well as other heads of state when they came on state visits.
The visiting dignitaries included: Egyptian Vice President Gamal Abdel Nasser and his close associate, Anwar Sadat, Syrian President Shukri al Kuwatli, Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie and King Faisal II of Iraq. Nasser's visit to Saudi Arabia in September of 1956 occurred two months after he had nationalized the Suez canal, a bold move that made him wildly popular throughout the Arab world. He was met in Riyadh by huge cheering crowds. The meeting between Nasser and Saud was a turning point in their relations, as Nasser was negotiating with Saud the possibility of oil embargoes against the West and providing support for Egypt. Kuwatli and Sadat were present during this visit. Nehru visited Saudi Arabia shortly thereafter. The meeting between Saud and King Faisal of Iraq was the first meeting of the Saud and Hashemite families in many years. Eleven photographs were taken when Seal was visiting Bedouin camps in the desert. The remainder of the photographs serve as a record of ARAMCO's exploration and drilling operations, including photos of structures, vehicles, procedures and machinery.
ABBREVIATIONS: ARAMCO - Arabian American Oil Company b/w - black and white (photograph)
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