I felt a strong connection with Dubai beginning with my first visit in 2004. I was captivated by the unique mix of the bustling energy of a young city turned towards its future, eager to compete with international hubs such as New York City and London, combined with a Middle Eastern douceur de vivre. With its surprising contrast between seemingly infinite spaces and the dense tangle of skyscrapers, Dubai was where I needed to be at that time of my life. Unlike where I come from, which is totally turned towards its glorious past and where there is no space for change, Dubai provided an opportunity to start from scratch, to reinvent myself, to find my own place in the world.
For eight years I worked at such an intense pace on international editorial and corporate assignments around the Gulf that my life started to resemble that of the city. Together we went through ups and downs, from the crazy economic boom of 2006 to the disastrous financial crisis in 2008.
Living at first in an Arab/Indian neighborhood allowed me to see behind the scenes of the fastest growing city in the world. I felt compelled to try to understand the deeper layers of this complex and intricate society. Dubai is a bustling city where you can also feel very lonely. You can spend the day with Westerners in a six-star luxury hotel or have karak tea with Pakistanis in the old streets of Deira. There are a hundred worlds in one city.
These images are a selection from a larger collection of personal photographs, “Memories of My Life in The Sand,” which I took over the past ten years. It is an intimate journal of my life in a country that I slowly fell in love with.
[See more of Matilde`s photos on her Instagram page.]