The Fire Station

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Road to the firestation, Doha, Qatar

The Fire Station (www.firestation.org.qa) is really the rebirth of the old firstation in Doha into an artist residence with a gallery. The Garage gallery, originally home to all the firetrucks of Qatar, just opened its first exhibition and it is never too late to pay a visit.

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The rest of the residence is still under construction, but the general layout and style of the site promises another blockbuster in the making. The old building is built in a mix of art-deco style and the new buildings are a modern form of Bauhaus.

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I found the work in progress as interesting as an installation in itself, a splash of color in the midst of a monochrome pallette.

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Some curvaceous furniture rounds off the show for now. Waiting with bated breath for the first round of residencies to end.

Vignettes from the desert

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A visit to the Zikreet desert, to the unsuspecting traveler, will revive memories of “2001: A Space Odyssey”. Out in the middle of nowhere four rectangular sheets of steel line up, 15+ meters tall. They are an installation by Richard Serra – expected to stand the test of time. There is not much rain to rust the metal fast, but the alternating heat and cold of the desert may test the integrity of the material. Being thin really helps in this case.

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Scorpion Crossing, Zikreet, Qatar.

An early morning visit to the gypsum flats reveals all the secret tracks of the scorpions that roam the slopes looking for food. If you are scouring the desert in the night, the pesky little UV torches will light up all these scorpions!

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The early morning sunlight on a clear day is so low that every tiny undulation of the soft desert sand appears like a large valley when shot close up!

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The tide keeps going up and down in the western coast of Qatar. I have never seen any fishes close to the coast this side of the country, wheareas the east cosat is teeming with fishes and jellyfish.

Streets of Goa

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I had this wonderful opportunity of participating in GoaPhoto 2015, the inaugural event of the annual GoaPhoto show. I was one of 24 participants in the Magnum Photo workshops.

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Richard Kalvar, Magnum Photos, was my mentor. He was very meticulous in editing our images and spent a lot of time on critique. It was a great experience having him review most of our images and selecting the best ones. I continued shooting even after the show was done and so I have featured more images than what I showed as my final sequence in the photo show.

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I spent most of my time stalking the streets of Fontainhas seeking out images.

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The four days were spent shooting and reviewing selected images of the previous day’s shoot.

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You get a lot of insight into how a professional photographer’s selection process (called editing) works.

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In a way editing is probably the most important part of the work.

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Goa was colorful and the people were really friendly.

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They let us take pictures freely and sometimes they wanted us to take more pictures. Welcome break from Doha.

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The food was fantastic if spicy food is your kind of thing. The Goans do fix you up with good drinks. You’ll never go thirsty in this place.

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The weather was muggy as summer just started. The schools will be off in a few weeks time.

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The Goan people are a mix of rural and cosmopolitan people.

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I would love to go back to Goa and continue shoot more pictures of the amazing Goan people.

A Friday in the souq

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The Souq Waqif in Doha can be a light and shadow show at the right time of the day. It has a rustic retro look that has been immaculately maintained by the government. It was even better a few years ago when the decision was made to let in some ‘current’ logos to be installed. Philips still maintains the old logo, a nice throwback touch.

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The long corridors of the souq is all about linear patterns crowned with the islamic arch.

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The numerous bell hops in the Souq (its a licensed job) also pose freely for the tourists.

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Falcon trapping and hunting using them is almost a national pasttime for the Qataris. Falcons have their own passports and some of them cost upwards of a million quid!