Umm Suqeim beach, Dubai By Hussain AlMoosawi
When constructing visual perceptions of cities around the world, we usually refer to both images of their skylines as well as those that illustrate fragments of life on a street level. When it comes to Dubai, images of its skyline seem to dominate more than anything else, creating an incomplete image of what the city actually looks like.
Without ignoring the newer parts of the city, this series of photographs looks at a constant element – parking meters– to make sense of Dubai both in terms of built environment and scale. The parking meter seen in these photos is slowly being phased out for a newly-designed blue meter, so I wanted to limit this project to where these older meters are.
This series hopes to find a more grounded view of Dubai, giving a glimpse of the golden hour, whether it's a beach, souk or an area clustered with skyscrapers such as Sheikh Zayed Road. Although this series is not about the parking meters and their design, these charming objects sit in the frame and make what we see more recognizable – as many of these photos do not contain other elements through which we identify the place to be Dubai. The photos show normal everyday life that could easily be somewhere else, and yet the parking meters make the photographs less abstract. The other element the parking meter keeps in check is scale. One of the illusions photographers create – whether intentionally or not – is distorting scale to render a place larger or smaller than what it is. We see this in drone photography, which doesn't only distort scale but also reduces city blocks to mere shapes and colors through a glamorized birds-eye view. This realist approach in unifying scale helps create a linear sequence that represents different parts of the city and their contrasting elements, highlighting the colorful character of each district.