*Amendement to this blog post. The issue of workers in Dubai is a complex one and goes far beyond the scope of this blog post and the pictures included. It was my experience during this shoot that none of the workers we photographed appeared to be working in any abusive or substandard conditions. I personally spoke to the owners of the factories and was allowed to walk free through out the factories unhindered. As I mention below, many of the workers spoke freely about their wages and the living conditions on site, though sparse and barebones, appeared clean and humane. The purpose of this project is not to make a specific political statement but rather to simply to collect portraits of a section of Dubai society that is rarely seen, but fundamentally vital.
For many of us who have visited Dubai, we've seen a virtual paradise on earth with streets paved with (black) gold. Unaware to most visitors is the stark and grim reality that much of this sparkling diamond in the desert was built on the backs of poor migrant workers from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh, often in unbelievably harsh conditions.
"Dirty People" is an ongoing personal portraiture project and these images were taken in various coal and marble tile factories in and around Dubai.
Many of the workers live on site or in labour camps allowing them to save what ever money they make and send it home to families in their respective countries. Though they were no doubt dirty, most of these folks had bright eyes and big smiles. They happily engaged with us and sometimes even pulled out little cellphones and took pictures of us.