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Photographer: Philippe Chancel
By Philippe Chancel, Quentin Bajac
Publisher: Editions Xavier Barral
Publication date: 2010
Print length: 114 pages
Photographer Philippe Chancel has mined the terrain between art, documentary and journalism for over 20 years. Between 2007 and 2009, Chancel made several visits to the United Arab Emirates, and found a country overwhelming in its architectural giganticism and astounding in its determination to domesticate a hostile environment. The resultant feeling of artifice is ubiquitous: the desert grows green, seawater is desalinated and new islands rise out of the sea. Moving from one air-conditioned space to another, from apartment to limousine, from limousine to shopping mall, from shopping mall to theme park, Chancel found irresistible pictures to take at every turn. Under his gaze, the United Arab Emirates is laid bare as the realization of the consumer society ideal, in which humans exist in a wholly manmade domain. With his characteristic frontal, distanced framing, devoid of judgment and emotion, Chancel portrays a country that is at once baffling and fascinating.
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