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The Suburbs of Dubai – Aria Shahrokhshahi

Aria Shahrokhshahi explores the suburbs of Dubai through a beautiful new series of photos..

I had my preconceptions about Dubai, essentially believing that it was a man-made city in the middle of the dessert, owned by global conglomerates and devoid of any culture. A society which prioritised and rewarded the rich but didn’t draw any attention to the huge population of working class Ex-Pats. However, despite my preconceptions, I enjoyed it. The main center of Dubai is just as opulent as you would think, but it was surprisingly empty the whole time.


When we first arrived its was just what you would expect just not as busy, the tallest building in the world, the biggest mall. the marble sidewalks and everything is strangely clean. But the thing about Dubai being only 19 years old is that its population consist mostly of migrants from India, Pakistan, Sudan etc. who some of the time where tricked into false labour terms and are basically “stuck” in Dubai. They don’t live in the city it’s so expensive so most live in a collection of suburbs in the surrounding areas. I was lucky enough to spend some time there and managed to take some photos.


While me and Tayler were wondering around chatting to people we met a lovely man called Khamar. I can honestly say I do not remember another person who was as happy and content with life as he was. His house was very stripped back, he didn’t have many possessions but he didn’t have an issue with that, I find when I meet people with very little they are the ones who are most giving, it seems that people with less “stuff” focus on living, interacting, connecting.