Ronald Codrai came to the UAE, then the Trucial States, in the mid-1940s, as an employee of an oil consortium. After spending eight years in south-eastern Arabia, Qatar and Bahrain, he lived for 24 years in Syria, Iraq and Lebanon and also visited other Arab countries.
A talented and enthusiastic photographer, Codrai amassed thousands of images in his spare time, many of which have been either published or exhibited. His photographs also feature in several books he authored, including The Seven Shaikhdoms, Faces of the Emirates and the Arabian Album series, among others.
He was awarded the OBE in 1975 for services to British interests in Lebanon. Codrai’s achievements were also noted in the Arab world and, in 1993, he was presented with the UAE Cultural and Scientific Association’s Sultan Al Owais Literary Award for his Arabian Album series – the only non-Arab to win this award. His book Faces of the Emirates also won the Best Locally Compiled Book at the Sharjah International Book Fair in 2001. He passed away a year earlier in London and is survived by his wife Pamela and sons Christian and Justin.
Codrai’s photographs portray the candid and vibrant daily life of the people in and around the Arabian coast. A lot of his pictures concentrates on the fishermen, pearl divers and the early dhows prominent during those days, thereby, giving his audience a glimpse into the simple way of living that made this region a very charming place to be.