Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 2 July 2020

'The view from my window': 9 budding UAE photographers share 'stay home' moments

A new online exhibition has gathered pictures from 66 photographers, which will be turned into a video that will go live on Saturday, June 27

As people began spending more time inside in the UAE from about March this year, photographs shared on social media started to look very similar.

While pictures of beaches and get-togethers stopped (except for those occasional ‘throwbacks’); those of plants, pets, family members and sunsets were on high-rotation, with most “outdoor” shots taken through windows and balconies.

In an attempt to capture the everyday beauty of spending time at home, online channel Selfie TV joined forces with W2W Events and PR to launch an online photography exhibition, View From My Window.

The companies reached out to budding photographers on social media in April, and have since compiled photos from amateur photographers, with entries coming in mostly from the UAE, although there are some from Australia, Canada, India, Pakistan, Sudan and Singapore.

“It was the current situation that inspired this exhibition,” says Zareen Khan, founder of W2W Events. “As an events company, we’re not used to online events, but physical human interaction. But when the pandemic really took off, we were indoors and there was a real drive to create new content.

“People were experimenting with different photography techniques and projects to document their time indoors. But then they had no way to show it to people to get that interaction and feedback – that’s really important, and that’s what creatives thrive on, being able to communicate through their work.”

Khan was contacted by Sahar Mahmood, founder of Selfie TV, and the pair decided to launch an online exhibition so that creatives and amateur photographers had a platform on which to share their work. After receiving 66 valid entries, they have weaved them into a four minute and 30 second video overlaid with original poetry written by Khan. The video will be launched on Saturday, June 27.

Scroll through the gallery above to see 9 submissions from the UAE.

We need to change our view; we can’t be the same people again after this

Zareen Khan

"During this time it is very important to motivate and support artists. I believe online exhibitions have the power to inspire people and give them hope that their work and talent can reach people around the world," says Mahmood, who believes online art exhibitions are now the way forward.

Some of the entries feature scenery outside windows and balconies, while others are photos of windows, with family or friends in the frame. Some are even taken from car windows, as people started to head outdoors.

“All the photos look at this period with a positive viewpoint,” says Khan. “I wanted people to feel relief, comfort and hope when seeing the photographs.”

Taken in Canada, a photographer captures a sweet moment when his younger sister, who was supposed to be watering the plants, turned the hose on a family member. Courtesy of @zayed_big__
A submission taken in Canada captures a sweet moment when the photographer's younger sister, who was supposed to be watering the plants, turned the hose on a family member. Courtesy of @zayed_big__

More importantly, she says she hopes the online exhibition sends a poignant message: to change our viewpoint, even if our view remains the same. “I think this pandemic has really brought a lot of attention to our relationship with nature and towards one another. It’s given us all an opportunity to reboot and restart.

"When everything goes back to normal, I hope that we will all learn to be more appreciative of the things we’ve been given, and stop taking them for granted.

"We need to change our view; we can’t be the same people again after this.”

The video featuring all the photographs will be posted on www.selfietv.co and on YouTube channel @selfieTV on Saturday, June 27.

Updated: June 22, 2020 09:34 AM

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