Dubai is a city that stirs the imagination. A futuristic, ultra-modern city, a playground for the world’s rich and famous, a city built on the edge of the world’s largest desert and one of the most beautiful seas, it is a magical place that evokes the feeling of Arabian folk tales, complete with the smells, tastes, and atmosphere you’d find while reading 1001 Arabian Nights.
When I first visited Dubai, I didn’t know what to expect. What I do know now is that exploring Dubai inspired me to challenge my creative eye. My wife Astghik and I were exploring and doing as much photography as we could with my digital equipment, when it hit me. In a city of instant gratification, the easiest way of doing everything is with, of course, instant results. We decided we had to plan a return to Dubai, except only with film cameras.
On our return to Dubai in November 2017, we did just that – got on a plane with the goal to capture the most technologically advanced city in the world with my favorite camera, a Zorki 4K Soviet Rangefinder along with some rolls of Kodak Ektar 100, Kodak Portra 400. Capturing the city on film gave our second expedition a number of unique angles!
One of our favorite spots is on the Crescent of the Palm Jumeirah – one of the many incredible feats of Dubai, which is a man-made island shaped like a palm tree – you can only access via an underwater bridge. After entering the Crescent, there are so many incredible views of the seemingly never-ending Dubai skyline, particularly of the Dubai Marina district.
The beaches of Dubai are especially magical. The white sand stretches as far as you can see, and from the calm and warm waters you can see the juxtaposition of modernity and tradition and how it’s shaped Dubai’s culture.
From our favorite beach, Kite Beach, you can see the world’s tallest tower – the Burj Khalifa, towering into the distance under the hot Arabian desert sun. What makes the scene even more unique is the traditional stone Mosque at the edge of the beach, where the Call to Prayer was sung multiple times a day, echoing over the sea.
Dubai is a magical place and I would recommend all who have the opportunity to visit and explore. I encourage everyone to always challenge their creativity, and sometimes it is a great feeling to be lost inside a new culture where not everything may seem to be what it looks like!
Robert L Weitzner is a professional photographer who started in the medium of film from the age of 13 (15 years ago). He has been featured in exhibitions all over the world, including an exclusive exhibition of photography in Yerevan, Armenia. For more of Robert’s photography, check out his Facebook page and website .