Last weekend I escaped from Riyadh and popped over to Doha, the capital city of Qatar. It’s a strange place in some ways, typical of the Gulf countries where they obviously have phenomenal wealth (it’s the richest country in the world on per capita GDP) and have spent a lot of it very recently on new buildings to create a modern city.
Qatar is like Dubai and Abu Dhabi and Bahrain to that extent but they are being quite canny by setting themselves up differently – whereas Dubai is has a showy, somewhat vulgar commercial focus (tallest building, most spectacular shopping malls, super-luxury hotels), Qatar is going for a more sophisticated approach around culture and refinement – it’s more like Singapore, whereas Dubai is more like Hong Kong.
To this end, they are building Doha to be a spectacular city (though at an appalling cost to the building site workers themselves: the city is built on exploitation and the blood of the dead construction workers).
An example of their intent is the wonderful Museum of Islamic Art on the Corniche, across from the fancy skyscrapers in the business district. It’s designed by I M Pei, the architect who also did the pyramid at the Louvre.
Across the road from this is an extraordinary building under construction – another museum – which looks like a great pile of crockery, all stacked at different angles, which will be very photogenic when complete.
I had my Lomo LC-A with me, finishing up the roll from the previous post, but also my Ondu 6×6 which is a great travel pinhole camera.
First, from the LC-A, on HP5+:
Next, the Ondu – with Delta 100 – these are my contributions to WWPD:
Finally, from my hotel room, an example of the construction going on in Doha