I recently received the 13th Annual Black and White Spider Awards title of ”Honourable Mention” in the categories of “Architecture” and “People”, along with “Nominations” in the categories of “People”, “Wildlife” and “Children of the World”.
The live online gala was attended by over 12,000 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry's most important event for black and white photography.
"It's an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from over 9,000 entries we received this year" said Basil O'Brien, the awards Creative Director. Jonathan Banks’s two honourable mentions and hat trick of nominees, represents black and white photography at its finest."
BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honouring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honours the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography.
Earlier this year I was commissioned by CallisonRTKL to photograph the new Outlet Village in Dubai. Whenever embarking on any such project there is always a lot of organisation to ensure coming away with the best set of pictures. I like to speak to the creative team involved with the design of the building, to discuss the particular features that they want me to capture. I believe that it is important to understand the design concept behind the architect’s vision in order to relay it in the pictures. I have a similar conversation with the marketing team to establish the images that they require and where they will be using them. We can then determine a schedule for the photography taking into account capturing it at sunrise, during the day, and at night, for both the external architectural shots and the interior photography. I also liaise with the shopping mall management and security in advance of the photography to make sure that everyone is on board. And I always like to ask if they have a cherry picker to photograph from!
The Outlet Village is an indoor retail destination developed by Meraas that offers a value shopping experience in a distinctive and stunning environment. The architecture is inspired by the picturesque medieval Italian hill town of San Gimignano, located in Tuscany. Bringing together a striking design inspired by a rich past with an innovative approach to construction, The Outlet Village harmonises architectural history with contemporary lifestyle and invites visitors to explore the contrast between old and new. Located adjacent to Dubai Parks and Resorts and within easy reach of Dubai and Abu Dhabi as well as Al Maktoum International Airport, The Outlet Village is set to emerge as an iconic and must-visit destination for visitors and residents.
Spanning over actual 25,000 square feet with a projection to expand shortly by adding 3 million square feet of space bringing its total retail square footage to 4.5 million by 2018, making it the largest luxury outlet shopping destination in the UAE.
Adding another dimension to Dubai’s rich retail landscape, The Outlet Village currently houses over 125 luxury retail brands including three department stores, international dining and a plethora of brands such as Galeries Lafayette, DKNY, Dunhill, Armani, Lanvin, Coach, Calvin Klein, Michael Kors, Roberto Cavalli, Carolina Herrera, Ermenegildo Zegna, Hugo Boss and many more.
The launch of The Outlet Village is part of Meraas’ commitment to build on the Dubai Fashion 2020 strategy, helping to diversify the city’s retail infrastructure and bolstering Dubai’s position as an evolving fashion capital of the world. The retail mix of prestigious high-end fashion and consumer brands within The Outlet Village is perfectly matched to the tastes of sophisticated UAE residents and visitors.
Once visitors have wandered around The Outlet Village’s stunning paved walkways and perused a selection of fabulous stores, they can relax in one of the elegant Piazzas which boast a variety of eateries.
Complimentary Tourism Shuttle Buses are also available to transport visitors to The Outlet Village from selected hotels and popular tourist destinations.
The International Day of Peace, sometimes unofficially known as World Peace Day, is a United Nations-sanctioned holiday observed annually on 21 September. It is dedicated to world peace, and specifically the absence of war and violence, such as might be occasioned by a temporary ceasefire in a combat zone for humanitarian aid access. The day was first celebrated in 1982, and is kept by many nations, political groups, military groups, and people. In 2013 the day was dedicated by the Secretary-General of the United Nations to peace education, the key preventive means to reduce war sustainably.
I photograph for a number of non-governmental organisations and charities that work towards building lasting peace or indirectly by improving the economic stability of a region, including International Alert, The Torture Abolition and Survivors Support Coalition International (TASSC) and The Red Cross.
I recently attended the launch of “The Peace Perceptions Poll 2018”, a collaboration between International Alert and the British Council, in partnership with global polling agency RIWI.
Bringing together the views of more than 100,000 people, the Peace Perceptions Poll sought to answer questions around how people experience and respond to violent conflict, and how they think their government should respond to conflict.
More countries are experiencing violent conflict now than at any time in the past 30 years. People have been displaced from their homes at a rate not seen since the Second World War. The cost of conflict is currently estimated at US$1.04 trillion a year.
Conflict and violence appear on our screens every day. Whilst we all understand that conflict is detrimental to the economic stability of a country and wellbeing of the people it is more challenging to assess what can be done to prevent conflict in the first place.
The findings showed a clear public appetite for long-term conflict prevention, commonly termed 'peacebuilding'. There are no short term fix solutions with education and economic improvement being the top two elements voted for in the poll.
During the panel debate, someone from the audience asked the question that if the solutions are long term, then what should we be doing in the here and now?”
Our perceptions that peacebuilding is long term often means that people do not think that they can make a difference. With long term solutions of education and economic improvement we will always be in the “here and now” and there will always be conflict around the world. The Peace Perceptions Poll is a shining example of what we should be doing in the “hear and now” and also to what a difference we can make.
Take the poll at The Peace Perceptions Poll 2018
Earlier this year I was commissioned to photograph La Mer Beachfront development in Dubai for the architects CallisonRTKL, who were part of the overall ‘design and build’ team.
As a beachfront development where new Dubai meets the old, La Mer integrates minimalist and contemporary design. Located in Jumeirah 1, La Mer has little in comparison with other destinations in the UAE having prize views of the Arabian Gulf and Dubai’s city skyline.
The Meraas development is spread over 1.24 million square metres of existing and reclaimed land taken over by sprawling timber walkways and beachside promenades packed with more than 130 restaurants, bars and shops.
The Beachfront comprises of four distinct zones, La Mer North and La Mer South, plus the beach and a leisure and entertainment hub.
Water features inspired by breaking waves sit alongside walkways bedecked by towering palm trees and marram grass verges.
Down by the beach, families can enjoy the safety of shallow waters, or take it easy in water hammocks and shower after a dip in the sea with fresh water buckets.
Driftwood has been used to build up some of the waterfront features, with half buried surfboards and paddleboards for hire.
A waterpark is on a central headland area called The Wharf, promising the usual thrills and spills along with an artificial wave for surfers.
“The destination reaffirms our commitment to contribute to Dubai Tourism Vision 2020 by diversifying what Dubai has to offer,” said Abdulla Al Habbai, group chairman at Meraas.
“With a host of new and novel experiences, residents and visitors will also find an alluring proposition to explore and enjoy.”
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