A photography project examining the social landscape of Dubai, with an eye toward the transitory and impermanent nature of the city. Read more
This project's funding goal was not reached on September 3, 2012.
About this project
The Ephemeral City is a photography project that focuses on the urban spaces, architecture, and social landscape of the city of Dubai. To this end, I'm planning a three-week photo trip to Dubai in December 2012. The outcomes of the trip will be:
- a series of photographs exploring the social landscape of Dubai.
- a photobook featuring images from the series.
- a series of prints, suitable for exhibition.
As a photographer, I'm interested in liminal zones - boundary areas, edges, and frontier regions - and the tensions that mark them. In my photographs, I explore the features of these zones in an attempt to trace the arc of change and to map relationships between people and place.
So Why Dubai?
In many ways, Dubai can be understood as a liminal city. While most cities have developed organically in settled areas over hundreds or thousands of years, Dubai seems to have sprung from the earth fully formed in the last 40 years or so. Indeed, as recently as 1982, most of what is now metropolitan Dubai was just barren desert; in just 38 years (from 1968 to 2005), the city's population increased from 59,000 to more than 1.2 million.
Dubai's history is not one of permanence or settlement, but of transience; like most liminal zones, Dubai is primarily a place that people pass through, not a place where people stay. For thousands of years before Dubai blossomed into a metropolis in the late 20th century, this forbidding (and largely empty) swath of the Arabian desert served not as the location of a settlement, but instead as a meeting place - as an outpost and hub for trade. And despite its recent (and explosive) population growth and the construction boom that accompanied it, Dubai’s population remains largely transitory; as of 2005, just 17% of the city’s residents were UAE nationals. The remainder are expatriates (primarily from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Philippines), who come to Dubai temporarily to work.
In general, I’m interested in the ways in which the urban spaces and social landscape of modern Dubai reflect its ephemeral nature.
How I Plan To Work
On my three-week photo trip to China in 2011, I spent roughly 16 hours per day (for 18 days straight) making photographs, shot roughly 6000 frames, and slept about six hours per night. I plan to work at a similar pace in Dubai.
(You can see more images from my 2011 China trip here.)
The goal of this Kickstarter project is to raise sufficient funds to cover airfare, lodging, ground transportation, and meals for the trip. Any funds raised beyond the target amount will go toward improving the project (e.g., hiring a local guide, renting additional lenses, improving rewards, etc.)
Despite Dubai's reputation for glitz and glamor, I won't be living large on this trip; I'll be flying economy class, staying in the cheapest reasonable accommodations I can find, walking or riding the Metro around the city to make photographs, and eating as inexpensively as possible. I'm imagining myself making turkey sandwiches in my hotel room for three weeks, and I'm totally cool with that.
To make the prints offered as rewards for this project, I'll be using White House Custom Colour. WHCC is the professional print lab I use for nearly all of my prints, including the prints for my 2012 solo exhibition A Lesser Light.
The book offered as a reward for this project will be printed as both a softcover and as a limited-edition hardcover. The book will be 10" x 8", roughly 60 pages long, and will feature approximately 50 photographs. The limited-edition hardcover will be signed and numbered by the photographer, and will be limited to a print run of just 100 books.
How You Can Participate
- Share the link for this project via email or social media.
- Back the project, reserve your reward: Make a pledge!
Thanks in advance for checking out the video, for backing the project, and for sharing the link. I'm really looking forward to making this trip, and I appreciate your interest and support!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
- (30 days)