Oksana and Xavier's engagement came together in one of the most random ways yet! First of all I met Oksana a few years ago when we both hopped on a plane to Israel for a Birthright Israel trip. Basically it's the best thing any Jewish kid could ask for, the organization sends you to Israel to learn more about you're heritage in the most hands on way possible. While traveling throughout the country we got to know each other a lot better and of course we've stayed in touch over the years. When I mentioned on Facebook that I was headed to Abu Dhabi to shoot Kate and Joe's Engagement Session, Oksana messaged me with her great news! It turned out she had just gotten engaged and her and Xavier were living in Dubai. It worked out perfectly, I went into Dubai and met with the two of them and we were able to run around town and get some awesome photos. I know I can't wait to make it back there to see them again and see more of the ridiculously gorgeous scenery. I was there for just over a week and there's still so much more to do. Here's some of my favorites from their session!
Here it is, I'm finally posting the reason why I was flown all the way over to the United Arab Emirates! Kate and Joe, also known as the coolest couple ever, flew me out to the UAE for their engagement session. It was by far the best engagement session ever. I've had the pleasure of working with some amazing couples and each engagement session has been so much fun, but honestly they're the only couple to fly me across the ocean and keep me occupied for over a week, so of course they take the cake! Don't worry though, if you're interested in claiming the title as the Coolest Client EVER all you need to do is take me somewhere amazing. If you ask me it's a small price to pay for greatness and of course the fame that comes with title. So maybe that's a lot to as for, but I just love traveling! Back to the important thing, Kate and Joe. Their story makes you believe in fate. With them everything fell into place so easily. Before they even met each other, they both decided to move out the UAE to begin a new style of teaching to kids in the Middle East. They were both on the same flight, but they never saw each other. Luckily for them they were placed in the same hotel in Abu Dhabi and when they were eating breakfast in the morning they met for the first time. They quickly fell in love with one another, the place, and of course their life in together in Abu Dhabi. They may be getting married here in Chicago, but they couldn't leave the UAE or Abu Dhabi out of their wedding. So when they contacted me their first question was are you filling to fly out. Immediately the answer was a resounding YES! Here is what we were able to capture during a week of fun while I got to know Kate and Joe and while I fell in love with the UAE.
Here are a few more photos from my travels through the UAE and Oman. Enjoy the shots! There's plenty from all over the country, I can't wait to go back!
I talked about some of the construction going on in the UAE in my earlier post "Fisherman Of Abu Dhabi" here are a few photos from my first day in the country. I would absolutely love to expand on this mini project!
For months leading up to my trip to the UAE to photograph two engagement sessions, I was researching possible documentaries I could shoot in my free time. But after talking to my clients, and not being able to find anything too interesting on the internet I decided I would have to go there to find options in person. Once in the country I was blown away by the amount of construction surrounding the expanding city of Abu Dhabi. It's absolutely everywhere you look, buildings being erected, foreign workers being bussed in from camps to construction sites and massive cranes sitting atop of the ever changing skyline. Obviously I would have loved to create a project exploring everything about the construction of the city. I would concentrate more on the condition of the workers who come from poorer countries all over the world, but that requires more planning and a bit more time than I had. I'll have to save that idea for the next time I'm back in the Middle East. After struggling to figure out an alternative my client mentioned taking some of their engagement images at Port Zayed Fishing Market. Immediately I was enthralled by the idea of heading out to this more traditional fishery and seeing what the locals were up to. We went there right around sunset to take a few shots by the boats, of course it was exactly what I was hoping for! There's few people who've been with me while I discover a new location and can attest to just how giddy I can get over the prospect of some awesome photos. I wasn't able to go back to Port Zayed until the last day my trip, but every moment leading up to that day I was thinking about what I would be able to accomplish. Sure enough the last day of the trip finally arrived and I was up before sunrise to head over to the market and capture the liveliness of the boats being unloaded, cleaned, and prepped to head back to sea. All the while there were others buying and selling the stock just yards away.
Before Abu Dhabi became a sprawling urban city, it was a small fishing village. Now Abu Dhabi is a major global city and the UAE is one of the richest countries in the world with massive reserves of oil. Like every thriving city there are still those sticking to their roots, trying to make a living the way their fathers and the generations before them did. The images below are a selection of my favorites from the morning.