Emirati photographer Ammar Al Attar has recently embarked on an intriguing research project entitled Reverse Moments. His chosen subject of exploration is the photographic studios of his native UAE. He started with the oldest ones, set up in Dubai in the early 1960s by Emirati pioneers: Mr. Jafar’s Al Ahram Studio and Abdullah Al Awadhi’s Dubai Art Studio.
Reverse Moments is a testament to the social history of the UAE and its relations with its neighbours across the water, India, Iran and Pakistan. It uncovers the employment opportunities that became available in tandem with rapid development through the stories of the studio pioneers and their networks of friends, families and compatriots.
Al Attar is investigating in detail the longeststanding studios, some set up in the late 1960s when the country was still part of the Trucial States, a British protectorate, others in the early 1970s after the founding of the UAE. For these men mostly from India and Pakistan, who set up business here, the nascent state was a land of opportunity. And they would be the ones to document its development. These studio photographers would record its population, both transient and more permanent; everyone needed REVERSE