A Week in Shahama


For the whole summer, a series titled “A Week in Pictures” has been running in The National. Staff photographers spend a week getting to know a neighbourhood or a city photographing daily life there.  Although I’ve occasionally filled in and shot for the paper before when we have been understaffed, this was my first “real” photo assignment. And boy was I nervous.

Shahama is a lazy town in between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. We all make the commute between cities quite often but I don’t know anyone who has explored Shahama except to visit the Kids Park.  The area is mostly residential and local. This could have proven problematic for two reasons : 1) Locals are quite private and don’t usually like being photographed for the paper. 2) It’s Ramadan AND mid-August, was I really going to find people milling about?

Driving through Shahama’s residential areas, I was fondly reminded of the Abu Dhabi portion of my childhood in the 80’s and 90’s.  Locals and expats alike were quite approachable, extremely friendly and keen enough to show off their “forgotten” suburb between the two major cities. Some even welcomed me into their homes to photograph them eating Iftar – for which I was very thankful.

After shooting stills for a week I’m extremely keen to keep honing my photo skills as I focus mainly on video. Let’s hope I get put onto more photo assignments as the months progress…