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Now & Then The Emirates (Our Earth)
by:John J. Nowell
The United Arab Emirates has emerged in the latter half of the twentieth century as a country of the new millennium. Its transformation from a land that time had all but forgotten to a glittering modern nation has been rapid and spectacular. Where there were tracks in the sand, there are eight-lane highways and cloverleaf interchanges; where there...
The United Arab Emirates has emerged in the latter half of the twentieth century as a country of the new millennium. Its transformation from a land that time had all but forgotten to a glittering modern nation has been rapid and spectacular. Where there were tracks in the sand, there are eight-lane highways and cloverleaf interchanges; where there were simple houses built of palm fronds and coral blocks, there are glass and steel skyscrapers; where there was a small population hard-pressed to survive on fishing, herding and trading, there is a cosmopolitan mix of nationalities living in a healthy and prosperous environment. It would be easy to forget the monumental strides that have been taken over the space of barely two generations. Fortunately, old photographs exist, many of them taken by pilots whose duties have brought them to the region over the years, to show the extent of the changes. It was while studying some of these old photos the “then” part of the title that John Nowell, himself a pilot and photographer, decided to try to duplicate the photographers’ location to achieve the “now” views of Now & Then: The Emirates. His work has taken him through all seven emirates, both in the air and on the ground, and in the process revealed many sights and details that might easily have simply vanished with time. At Bitna, he photographed the same guard whose decades-old picture had been supplied. A spectacular geological formation in Ras Al Khaimah is still clearly visible, while elsewhere dredging has changed channels and coastline beyond recognition. Now & Then: The Emirates provides a fascinating insight into a nation in transition, a beautiful and historical photographic record, and an inspiration for photographers in the years to come.
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