Helpful Posts: 0
30th September 2012, 03:55 AM
A porter loading his trolley with empty trays before returning to the warehouse. Looking precarious!
30th September 2012, 05:21 AM
Unbelievable! Did you get a shot of him actually wheeling it away?
30th September 2012, 09:58 AM
Phil this is really great. It does much more than just tell a story. It is excellent.
What I don't like is the white frame. I think it doesn't fit to this particular image but rather distracts. I would also suggest to burn the left middle part a bit.
30th September 2012, 10:09 AM
Personally I don't see any problem with the white boarder. When taking a shot like that the effects of a slight and I do mean slight blur on the back ground can have an amazing effect. Great shot but the blur would improve it a lot. Ideally it should be possible to to still see what the blurred items are. There is lots of scope for experimentation in this area.
No chance of taking something similar in the UK the health and safety people would have a fit. His management would insist on sending him on a trolley usage course too for at least 2 weeks to minimise the risk of being sued if he suffered an injury.
30th September 2012, 01:06 PM
Your images are always so interesting and so tack sharp. Great capture.
30th September 2012, 02:33 PM
Phil, as always - a great image. I like this even better than if the BG had been OOF. The crates and boxes in the BG signfy a "never ending task".
I wonder what the life of a porter is like? I would imagine it is pretty grim, working in that heat cannot be enjoyable. Of course, it might very well beat the life that the porters would know in their home countries.
30th September 2012, 05:27 PM
Originally Posted by rpcrowe
You hit the nail on the head there. Their salaries might be considerably less than Western expats, but there aren't many Western expats that can save enough from their monthly salary to support their entire family and build a home while living in Dubai.
30th September 2012, 05:36 PM
Your enthusiasm and respect for the people you photograph is always so evident in your images.
Originally Posted by dubaiphil
30th September 2012, 05:39 PM
Great shot! With all of the mechanization and health and safety laws in the developed countries, scenes like these have to wait for trips abroad, and then one usually doesn't get a chance to wander into too many side alleys like this one to see the day to day lives of people. I suspect that B&W is probably a good choice here as it nicely simplifies the scene.
I agree with Miltos regarding the frame, but for a different reason; I generally like a white frame, and think it completes the image, but it has to be wide enough to complement the image, and I find the one in this image far too narrow and it acts as a distraction, rather than anchoring the image.
1st October 2012, 04:10 AM
Thanks for your comments, guys. I've just had a walkabout with my 50mm f1.4 now - I'm usually happy with a location when I've had the chance to have a few walkabouts with each of my primes (I don't like drawing even more attention to myself by swapping out lenses on location if possible, and dust is ever present). Even at 6:30am the temperature's in the mid 30s so it's still pretty warm too - backpacks in the crowded 'lanes' around the market aren't really going to help.
With 35, 50 and 85 I can get lots of different possibilities, so this particular area is exhausted for a while now - until I saw another 2 markets in the same block and a mosque on my way out and to work - I might have to revisit again soon. In the meantime I've probably got around another 20 good keepers to process, so I'll post some more as I get the chance.
@ Mike - unfortunately I didn't get the chance for further shots once my cover was blown! I saw this guy stacking and pre focused, waiting for him to look up. Timing was quite fortunate, with his expression. On another forum the guy was likened to a young sub-continental Brad Pitt! Looking at him now, I have to agree.
There is a massive difference in salaries between the rich, western expats, and sub-continental workers and labourers here in Dubai. Because everyone lives in the same relatively small melting pot yet in very different conditions there is a parallel world here which is very accessible and approachable. Everyone is very friendly and humble and there is virtually no crime despite the massive gap between the haves and the have-nots. Dubai has been bashed in the press in recent years quoting slave labour etc, but in reality 99% of these workers are receiving far better salaries that in their home countries and with their different culture are very much in favour of leaving their family to support them from afar. What I would really like to do is photograph them in their accommodation, or labour camps as they are known (unfortunately due to the similarity with the term from WWII). However, I think the authorities would not take kindly to this as the photojournalism would be a little too real. Because these guys live in, by western standards, poor conditions (even though again it's better than in their home country), and this happens a stone's throw from huge villas, 5* hotels etc the matter has come to light in the press. However, compared to buying goods in shops in the west which have been produced in sweat shops in the far east, who is morally more correct?
1st October 2012, 06:27 AM
I haven't commented on these images until now. But in the last paragraph of your last post I guess it threw up things that make me uncomfortable about these images. They seem to me anyway to fall between two stools. Are they images that a person visiting Dubai would take? Or are they images that are providing a social commentary on Dubai? If it is the latter then it would need to be balanced out by showing their complete lifestyle not just their working life. As you mention in the last paragraph. Leaving their families must be one hell of a wrench and although you say that they earn more money. They presumably send a lot of that back home? It all must be relative anyway, as if I worked and lived in London I would be earning more money but cost of living would be higher, so does that make someone better off? The slight irony is probably that your photographic equipment is probably worth a lot more than they earn in a long period of time?
So, I guess that my overriding thought is that while the technical quality, composition etc. are good. The actual images leave me confused. Social commentary or visiting person's view of Dubai?
Cheers for now
1st October 2012, 06:47 AM
I don't think of my shots as social commentary - if I were free to shoot their complete lifestyle, rather than just their working environment, then I would consider my shots to be that.
I don't consider my shots to be a visitor's view of Dubai. Very few visitors visit these locations, or shoot in a considered way.
I consider them to be a personal project. I respect your opinion, but these images are not invasive or voyeuristic. Personally I don't approve of photographing homeless people or people who are in a desperate position and vulnerable. These people are far from it.
Some are street photographs, taken as many other street photographs the world over are taken. Some are taken after interacting with the subjects to gain rapport and take a photograph. Either way, I return with prints and distribute them to the subjects - they then send these home to their families who they don't see for around 2 years at a time.
So my idea is not to present a social commentary. Just because there is such a gulf between rich and poor in the world doesn't mean that it should be ignored. It's just that in Dubai the gulf is apparent if you look a little deeper as it's so localised. If anything I think the overriding statement that my environmental portraits make is that you don't have to be rich to be happy and proud.
All in all, what I am trying to do while living in Dubai is learn photography and take photographs of where I live. That includes the glitzy, glamorous locations and 5* hotels, the 'picture postcards' if you like. Not only that but how everyone lives in the Emirate.
1st October 2012, 07:40 AM
I would just like to respond to your last post and use some quotes from you posts which might clarify my confusion.
Firstly, I didn't suggest that your images were invasive or voyeuristic.
Originally Posted by dubaiphil
Secondly, the second quote suggests social commentary rather than just street photography.
I guess for me anyway, that is what makes the images and posts of a somewhat contradictory nature.
Cheers for now
1st October 2012, 07:56 AM
What I would like to do is photograph their living conditions. That would then complete the picture to create a social commentary.
However these series are just a personal project which gets some interest from viewers and opens debate.
Debate's healthy, as is a photograph which makes the viewer look deeper and ask questions
1st October 2012, 12:25 PM
I don't see a contradiction in Phil's thinking. I don't agree with everything he thinks about this stuff but I respect that I see no contradiction.
Instead, I understand Phil to be writing that photographing the people in their work environment is not social commentary because he is prevented from photographing them in their home environment. He is also writing (or at least implying, I can't remember) that if he was also allowed to photograph them in their home environment, the total body of work would then be social commentary. If I've got that wrong about his thinking, I look forward to being corrected.
1st October 2012, 02:10 PM
Personally, I would regard photographing people at work as a social commentary. I don't think Phil said he was being prevented from taking pictures in their home environment. Rather, that he thought that photographing the 'other' face of their lives would be frowned upon by the authorities.
Originally Posted by Mike Buckley
I guess that in the posts I find contradicition or maybe inconsistences which suggest that a personal view of these people is being taken then by adding their homes lives it would be a social commentary.
I don't know if you have got Phil's thinking wrong, he would have to answer that. It's not a case of being correct or wrong. Its a case of me expressing an opinion which Phil has responded to by saying that debate is healthy. One of the intentions of photography is to provoke thought and to express an opinion. Well, I guess I am not afraid to do so when I feel that it's appropriate.
Cheers for now
2nd October 2012, 05:46 AM
Gee - someone get legal!
At no point have I said that I agree with what goes on in Dubai, or agree with how the place 'works'. Far from it.
I'm just a guy taking street photographs.
If I was to sell these images and make money from them, then I would consider that exploitative. However, I am not and will not.
Dubai is a riddle wrapped up in an enigma. The country has tried to modernise, attract international investment and expand exponentially. This is despite adhering to a traditional Sharia Law, amendments of which are trying to keep pace with this expansion. The local populace accounts for only around 10-15% of the total population of Dubai, and without the expats and workers/labourers this growth would never have been possible. I consider the locals use of workers/labourers to be exploitative given their living conditions. However, there are many other countries which have or are used/using an immigrant workforce. Canal and railway builders in the UK in the past being one such example. The difference here is that many people visit Dubai for luxury vacations and are blissfully ignorant of what goes on, while spending large sums of money in the country.