Consumption in Dubai – Breathtaking Photos of Our Environmental Impact

Environmental Art, Photography, Nature, Richard Allenby-Pratt, Consumer Culture, Consumption, Ghaf Trees Richard Allenby-Pratt’s popular Abandoned photo series still haunts us. Currently based in Dubai, the professional photographer received numerous accolades for extraordinary compositions that depict wild animals meandering through a deserted Dubai.

How surreal, and yet not so far removed from the truth, it is to see rhinos and giraffes searching for food amid a backdrop of glass and steel. Now we’re happy to announce that Richard will be sharing more images from a new project that he has been cooking up. It’s called Consumption and it starts in Dubai.

Consumption is Richard Allenby-Pratt’s latest personal photography project; like Abandoned, which was woven together by a central theme, this new series will examine the impact that consumer culture has had or is having on the environment.

From resource extraction and commodity production all the way down the supply chain to retail stores and waste processing facilities, Richard will artfully examine what nature has come to mean in a world that depends on buying stuff.

Albeit enormously popular and exceptionally well executed, the series from Dubai was wildly misunderstood by the blogosphere. Too many writers succumbed to the temptation of calling Richard’s vision apocalyptic, resorting to a kind of dramatic frenzy that propels so much of today’s news.

To avoid a repeat of this distracting scenario and to inform readers about the process behind each new image, they will be accompanied by personal commentary from the artist.

There’s nothing scripted here. As Richard comes upon a place that moves him in some way, a place that has been altered because of our behavior, he will compose an image and tell its story. And he will have plenty of material since we are hard-pressed to find a place we haven’t touched somehow.

Maybe these images will be composed in Dubai. Maybe they will come from somewhere else. The idea is simply to see the world through Richard’s unique lens in order to better understand the consequence of our fatal reign on this planet. The rest is up to us.

Here’s what Richard has to say about the first featured image from Consumption:

I’ve been aware of this site for some years, located, as it is, in view of the main Dubai-Hatta Rd. My understanding is that the Ghaf tree is a protected species in the UAE, the removal of which is strictly prohibited, but this wadi gravel plain is populated by the local Acacia thorn tree, one of the other noble plants that eek out a living in one of the world’s harsher environments. Unfortunately, the surrounding  gravel is a useful commodity that is simply scooped up and ready to use as a general purpose construction aggregate.

Isolated trees are not an uncommon phenomenon throughout the UAE; clearly the destruction of a tree in the interest of acquiring resources for continuing development is, culturally, a step too far; whereas the removal of all other elements of the tree’s home environment is not. The trees appear to survive the indignity, at least in the short term, but whether, what is left of, the local ecosystem will ever recover in it’s newly-shaped topography, only time will tell.

To be continued…

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