In your bag No: 1249 – Btihal Remli


by Bellamy /

3 min read
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In your bag No: 1249, Btihal Remli
This one is a wonderful bag, but also a terrible story. This is a memory of a bag that once was, and then was ruthlessly taken away. Take care out there guys.

The Stolen Bag

Since I know this page I always checked what photographers take with them on a trip and so I ended up making a photo of my bag, before I would start my next trip. It is the only photo of my bag that I ever did… what a coincidence…

As usual I took the Hasselblad. I also called it „my baby“, because (and this might sound a bit strange) the Hasselblad was my partner, my love. I took it everywhere I was going. After trying so many cameras I figured out that it was „the one“. I was hopelessly devoted to it.

In Addition I also had my Nikon FE2 which I bought once from an very old photographer in morocco for 10 Euros. That was a lucky moment. And of course you can see some Kodak Portra in my bag. My most prefered film ­ lovely colors!

I was heading from Germany to Spain with the car. I passed France and I shot some beautiful spots, nice stations and it was cool. Then I reached the border between France and Spain. I crossed Barcelona and enjoyed the sunshine as it was a nice sunny day in april.
Later on I got back on track during sunset and when I was close to Valencia I realzied that I was in need of some gas and so I stopped at a gas station. It was quite empty and I took out my Hasselblad to shoot this strange station. A well dressed man with a very new BMW was watching me. I thought he is only checking on my ass, but unfortunately I was wrong. I closed the door and went to the toilette. My Hasselblad was with me. It was always with me, but when I came back to the car something was different. One of my Potra Films was on the ground. Also my notebook. I checked on the door and it was broken.

My bag was gone!

I was going crazy and the first thing that I did was to put my Hasselblad on the seat to check if something was left. That man who watched me before came to me and said that he saw a woman taking my stuff and I was telling him why he didn’t stop her. Well after that stupid discussion he left and when I turned I realized that also my Hasselblad was gone…

And this is the last photo of my bag in this constellation. It was a horrible experience, but as photographers we should never lose the belief in people, but it seems that we have to take more care.

Hasselblad 500c/m, Carl Zeiss 80mm Planar;

Nikon FE2, 50mm f1.8
Kodak Portra 400
Guerlain Lipstick with a mirror

Thanks for sharing your bag with us, Btihal. I am so sorry to hear that such a rotten bunch of bastards could do this, they probably didn’t even have an idea of what the camera was worth. Truly sorry for your loss, I hope you replace it with something else that can give you such memories and experiences.
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19 comments on “In your bag No: 1249 – Btihal Remli”

    Chad Ivan August 21, 2015 at 12:45 pm / Reply

    That is just terrible!!
    I hope that you may one day find the ones responsible. And that is why, Bellamy, I carry that knife in my bag. Unfortunately I’ve learned that by assuming things will go wrong and that people aren’t as nice and caring that I can and must become more aware of my situation and presence. It’s sad and a bit paranoid of me, but if it keeps me from ever having to lose my composure and belongings then so be it.

    Thank you for sharing. I hope that setback hasn’t held you back from further enjoying photography.

    Btihal August 21, 2015 at 2:35 pm / Reply

    Thank you!
    Well, after crying I carried on with my journey. My father and I arrived Morocco where I thought I could find something cheap and good. But unfortunately the people already knew how much cameras are worth. But all the people who I asked where calling one guy who was supposed to know everything about cameras. I asked for his number and called him too. When he realized that I knew what I was talking about he met with for a tea. It was like a secret meeting for drugs! But he was a very nice guy and helped me out with a Mamiya C220. The Problem was just that I couldn’t find a Medium Format Film :D!

    ZDP-189 August 21, 2015 at 3:04 pm / Reply

    There are so many stories of thefts and pickpocketing in Southern Europe that we need to be seriously careful. I am told they mainly target North Asians as they pack valuable items and cash and aren’t wary of theft.

    Paul Schofield August 21, 2015 at 3:37 pm / Reply

    Read a story once about a photographer who used his Hassleblad to defend himself against a mugger on the NY underground. The camera needed minor repair afterwards but the mugger came off worse.

    Hope you get another Hassi and put this behind you, Btihal.

    Sarah August 21, 2015 at 4:10 pm / Reply

    Oof. At least they didn’t hit the mugger with an M series. No repair, but having to defend yourself for killing your mugger would be a bad outcome!

    Tina Kino August 21, 2015 at 4:14 pm / Reply

    ..ah, shit! A very sad story indeed.
    Especially that the Hassi was taken as well (..but they left the MacBook ??).
    Hope you’re able to replace it with something nice!

    Carlos August 21, 2015 at 4:46 pm / Reply

    South Europe, India, Hongkong, Berlin, NY, Rio de Janeiro, everywhere. Where there’s a herd of thoughless sheep walking around with higher values, they’ll be enlightened.
    Us stupid Hipsters wanting to show off, are perfect for that.
    Next time think about minimizing your vacation gear, and if running a project with expensive gear, do it like the professionals, ensure it.
    I always only have one little camera strapped on me and rarely a bag, unless for beach-towel and a few film rolls.
    They can easily have it, no worry. It’s all replaceable.

    To the knive-warriors: remember, you’ll lose your life fast in such situations! Just don’t.


    Mat Thornton August 21, 2015 at 5:02 pm / Reply

    Shame, but you need to get yourself another Hasselblad, you’ve got some great work there. It disgusts me that you can’t have anything decent, without looking over your shoulder 24/7. I really hope these pricks get what they deserve one day.

    Btihal August 21, 2015 at 6:21 pm / Reply

    Thanks for all the nice reply.
    Well, I was pretty sad. It is such a damn shit when you find that one camera that just suits you. But I travelled afterwards to Morocco and was searching for something to replace the Hasselblad. But somehow people knew about the market and as also my money was stolen I couldn’t afford anything. Anyway on my journey I always heard people talking about one specific person who might know where I could get a Hasselblad. So I was asking for his phone number and we met. He was super kind and when he realized that I am truly into photography he borrowed me his Mamiya c220. This is what I am shooting with at the moment. It is not the same, but still it works for me :)
    @Tina: I had my iPhone in my pocket, because I was writing a message to my friend before and fortunately I put my Macbook, my Passport and my Father’s Passport into another bag just one or two hours before. I don’t even remember why I did this, maybe because my bag was getting bit to heavy.
    @Carlos: let’s say it was a good lesson

    iGlad August 21, 2015 at 8:59 pm / Reply

    In Spain, this kind of theft is very common, they wait petrol stations for lone drivers usually females and use numerous distraction techniques to get at your goods.

    1. they ask for directions with a map usually spread over the bonnet of the car or something that gets your attention, whilst an accomplice steals your belongings from the trunk or inside the car.

    2. They puncture your car tyre at the petrol station, follow you and offer to help you, the spare is in the boot/trunk so all the luggage comes out and along comes the accomplice.

    3. They watch you put something in your trunk/boot before you go to the petrol station toilet and then break in.

    Yours is a combination of 1 and 3 and there would have been an accomplice very close by.

    Never leave valuables in plain sight and take your pictures after you’ve been to the toilet and then drive off.

    It’s unfortunate but Spain is known for this kind of theft and it’s very slick luckily violent crime is still quite low. However as a female traveling alone in a foreign country always be aware, that you are seen as easy prey by thieves and pickpockets.

    However you weren’t attacked or injured but you lost something valuable to you but it can be replaced eventually, you will learn from it hopefully ( makes you stronger) and the thieves will get their day in court if karma really exists.

    To the chap who carries a knife, don’t be such a moron, would you really kill a person over a camera, if so then you need to locked away now.

    Dan Castelli August 22, 2015 at 3:49 am / Reply

    I’m so terribly sorry this happened to you. We all scrimp & save for good equipment, and some lower form of human life with no regard for the intrinsic value of our gear sees an opportunity for a quick buck.

    Our home has been broken into twice. Both times I lost a old Leica M & a 35mm Summicron. We lost jewelry, computers, $$$, personal effects and objects that had family value to only us. Living in the USA, and our current mania over guns, I was told to get a handgun. This is just stupid. Kill over a Leica or a laptop? Not me. Too much killing in my country already.

    It can, if you let it, sour you toward humanity. Don’t let it. You will replace your gear, and you will continue on your life journey. You’ll take great photos, and your life will be enriched by people you haven’t met yet.

    Carlos August 22, 2015 at 5:49 am / Reply

    I am from Valencia, and sadly I’m not surprised of hearing that, so many pickpockets in this area… Sorry !

    Tom H. August 22, 2015 at 6:55 pm / Reply

    Spain is pickpocket central. There is no place on earth where I watch my stuff more than here. I never leave anything anywhere, and I carry a messenger bag in front of me in the cities. Pickpocketing is sort of socially accepted in Spain, as long as the victims are tourists. I’ve seen pickpockets at work in Barcelona and Madrid with police officers watching the whole time…

    Sad to hear about your bag, hope you’ll find a new Hassie some day! I’d follow Dan’s advice and not let it get you down. Shit happens in life, and after all it’s only a camera, no matter how much it might sting. I’m sure you’ll get back on your feet and be stronger for it. Cheers!

    Max Heimann August 22, 2015 at 11:01 pm / Reply

    Hej Bithal,

    so sad to read this story. It felt so cinematic in my mind reading it though. It could be an acted (!) photoshoot idea. I hope this does not seem morbid to you.

    I really enjoyed the sets of photos on your website.

    Good luck and good light

    Stan B. August 23, 2015 at 3:47 pm / Reply

    So sorry for your loss, nothing that can be said to replace it- but at least you have the right attitude and will live to take many more fine photos…

    Rachelle M August 23, 2015 at 7:56 pm / Reply

    Btihal –

    So sorry to hear about the theft of your gear – like you, I often travel alone, and having anything stolen from me is a big worry.

    I did take a look at your website and exhibitions and I am really impressed with your work. You’ve inspired me to start shooting in colour again.


    J. Simeon August 24, 2015 at 6:07 am / Reply

    Dear Mr. Tom H.

    I find your remarks quite offending. Even more when you take into account the fact that many of those pickpockets and thieves are of foreign descent. We Spaniards are the first to suffer from the lack of police interest in petty crimes, and be aware that under no means is pick pocketing is socially acceptable under any circumstances.

    Also Spain lives off tourism. We hate criminals preying on foreigners.

    Tom H. August 29, 2015 at 4:25 pm / Reply

    Dear J. Simeon,

    I don’t mean offence, but I merely speak from experience. I have family living in Alicante and Murcia. Having spent more than 50 holidays in Spain as a child and as a pilot, I visit Spain at least a few times a month. The tourist hot spots are known for pickpockets, especially Barcelona, Madrid and the coastal cities. And while this has been so for decades, I have not seen anything done about it. To deny that is not wanting to see the truth. I spend some 100 nights a year abroad for work, and I’ve been robbed three times in the last 10 years, all in Spain. And all three times when I went to report it at a police station, I was laughed at… And to blame it on foreigners, is offensive on your part. My family who are Belgian but have been living in Spain for decades, have been robbed multiple times, and always by locals, not foreigners. In broad daylight even, while people were watching…

    I’m not saying it’s admired or tolerated by most people, but I’ve not been anyplace else where it’s that likely you will be robbed when the opportunity presents itself, and that includes favellas and slums around the world.

    Tom H. August 29, 2015 at 5:03 pm / Reply

    But by all means people, do visit Spain if you can, it’s still a beautiful place with hospitable people and a rich history. And great food!

    But just keep an eye on your stuff, two eyes if you can…

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