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A collaboration of creatives: #MyDubai through Leica’s lens

By Jalaja Ramanunni

Photographer: Alan Schalher

Leica Camera and Dubai Economy and Tourism (DET) worked together to create a campaign for the community of artists, creators and photographers.

Leica Camera and DET invited six photographers from different parts of the world to capture the integration of the past and the contemporary aspects of Dubai in their photographs – Mohammed Ashkanani (Kuwait), Franck Bohbot (Los Angeles and Paris), Goncalo Fonseca (Portugal), Obaid AlBudoor (UAE), Christian Werner (Berlin) and Alan Schaller (London).

Goncalo Fonseca, the Lisbon based documentary photographer said: “Since the beginning of the project, it was important for me not to produce only postcards from Dubai. There are many images of the city that inhabit our collective minds, and those were the ones I tried to avoid. Through the work I produced, I tried to go deeper, into new and fresher perspectives. One of the things I was keen on showing was the multicultural aspect of Dubai and how, despite its intense change, the city has managed to keep its heritage alive.”

The Emirati photographer Obaid AlBudoor, said: “As an Emirati I felt a duty to represent my city in a few many others don’t see as often. It’s easy to get lost in the glitz and glam, but those aren’t the most impressionable things that stay with you. Second, I had to make sure the images I create represent the feeling I sense within my city.”

Leica Camera announced the establishment of a national subsidiary, Leica Camera Middle East, in Dubai last year and opened a new store in Qatar. The organisation is taking consistent steps to expand in the region.

Meanwhile, MyDubai first started as a hashtag trend that was initiated by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum in 2014. He put a call out on social media to introduce the #MyDubai initiative and invited people to share content of their memorable moments in the city.

DET eventually created a MyDubai social page and a social channel on Instagram that celebrates the community and its people. It has accumulated over 35 million mentions. The channel is heavily focused on the visuals of Dubai and its people.

The #MyDubai campaign reached out to a large portion of the city’s community and content creators, encouraging them to participate in some of Dubai’s most important events and present the city to both domestic and international audiences from a variety of creative angles.