15 Degrees

The earth’s time zones can be defined by geometrically subdividing the Earth’s spheroid into 24 lunes (wedge-shaped sections), bordered by meridians each 15° of longitude apart. It’s an unseen but imaginable boundary that strongly upholds the notion that no two person could be at the same place, the same time. Everyone, someone is living their lives, somewhere, everywhere. If truly every element of life could be reduced to statistics and managed objectively, the world would be without worries.

“15 Degrees” is a personal photography project that aims to explore the fusion of culture and livelihoods of foreign workers and immigrants working in the UAE. The uniqueness of this photography project lies in the skewed ratio of local emiratis and foreigners in the country; 20:80, the former being emiratis. Given the total population of only 5.6 million, this imbalance is indeed staggering.

This collection of pictures depicts the average person and commoner on the streets, some who have barely worked for a year, while others, a naturalised citizen for decades. These people have driven the economy of the UAE for decades, making a life for themselves. They are truly unsung heroes whose untold stories remain hidden from thousands of other immigrants from other parts of the world, who have come into contact with them.

If only our differences are dictated by time zones, how many “15 Degrees” it takes to be present at the same place to witness a cauldron of civilisation and culture?

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