Mosque at Worker’s Labor Camp, Jebel Ali 2009 is an image taken by Connie Samaras. This image stood out to me from the many different images I viewed at the University of California Riverside California Museum of Photography. The shadows, bright lights and skyscraper contrast well with the blue and green background colors. This is the image of a city building project located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This photograph is part of a series known as After the American Century. The series it a set of pictures taken throughout the region of different “massive building projects, fountains spewing water against the desert terrain, labor camps, and fleets of uniformed workers negotiating dangerous conditions” (http://www.cmp.ucr.edu/). Dubai is known for its futuristic city designs and being one of the seven Emirates that has adopted Western culture’s business model. The western influence has attributed to the advancement of the cities and lead to new technologies. These cities, including and especially Dubai, have all sprung up within the last twenty years. This is where the image becomes relevant; it portrays the idea of the cities and the society rising, to a new and improved culture all seemingly “over night”. Twenty years is a short amount of time when compared to the length of time other cities have taken to develop and become urbanized.
Connie Samaras, the photographer, did an excellent job portraying the message of this series to the observer. The bright colorful skyscrapers, power lines, and intricate framed structures can all be viewed in her images and represent global capitalism. After the American Century is the third series in a collection, which draws attention to new millennium projects. It is directly regarding the “built environments”, “speculative landscapes”, and a blossoming new culture which fills this century.
After the American Century pushes the observer to speculate what the future may hold as the metropolitan culture continues to assimilate itself around the world. This series is inspiring and has the ability to generate the feeling of excitement in the observer as he/she looks to a future filled with new advances and a new urbanized way of life. In this particular image, there is a single structure nobly towering over building projects and appears to wait patiently for the next wave of urbanization to catch up.
This image can be found at University of California Riverside California Museum of Photography .
Here are some quick instructions on how to get to the image and the After the American Century series.
Click on Exhibitions
Click on Connie Samara (top right)
Click on Gallery (to the right)
Six thumbnail images should now be available for viewing. Just click on the image you wish to look at.