No, I am not in Mogadishu taking photographs of the local militia at night - I am in Doha, the capital of Qatar, where it seems almost as wild tonight.
It is Thursday night (equivalent to Saturday night in the West) and the young Qataris are out in force on the Corniche (the boulevard along the bay) celebrating the opening tomorrow of the first Asian Games to be held on the Arabian Peninsula.
They are driving up and down the Corniche blowing horns, waving flags, screeching tyres and revving the engines of their top-of-the-range four wheel drives to a screaming pitch – and making them backfire. I’m not sure how they do that, but it can’t be doing their engines any good, and it sounds like there are gunshots going off all over the place (so I suppose you could say it’s a Mogadishu atmosphere).
Young wealthy Arabs in Ferraris, Lamborghinis and Mustangs are racing up and down the main roads making as much noise as they can with their modified mufflers, and along the Corniche there are dozens of young men in Toyota Landcruisers (they all look brand new) hanging out of windows, and sitting on the roof (some chatting away on their mobile phones) as they drive down the road (if you don’t believe the bit about them sitting on the roof – have a look at the photo I have posted to the Workshop).
There’s not a cop to be seen anywhere (they seem to be busy escorting all the motorcades of the VIPs arriving for the Asian Games). I was once chastised by a Qatari for saying in a photo caption on one of my earlier photo websites that Doha was the most boring place in the world – but it sure ain’t boring tonight!
PS: No, this vehicle was not parked. It was driving down the road like this with the guy sitting on the front windscreen. It wasn’t going very fast at this point, having slowed down for a roundabout – but it took off at great speed on the other side of the roundabout with the guy still clinging to the front.
Critiques | Translate
Flavia (10352) 2006-11-30 17:40
I like the journalistic interest of this picture It brought me an aspect of a place and culture I don't know much about. It's crazy what they were doing. Thanks for sharing.
jaywalker (16101) 2006-11-30 19:36
Hi David, The contrast between the black & white works well, a great capture, like you said no cops, i would not sit on the front of a car over here the cops would soon ture up, excellent shot, kind regards Wilson.
kensimage (8561) 2006-12-01 1:27
It's hard to imagine the idea of riding on the hood, fast--is there that little regard for the value of life? Of course, it would happen in many societies, if police looked the other way, it's just a question of to what degree. Nicely captured--it looks like they noticed you taking the picture., which adds some interest. Good social commentary. Regards, Ken.
jhm (140110) 2006-12-01 5:21
Maybe are this picture a very shock reaction, but you write excellent your note, good contrast between the white attire and the dark sky, you did very nice addition the lanterns gives a nice enlightenment. Thanks for sharing.
Have a nice weekend,
capthaddock (28790) 2006-12-04 17:31
Hi David - not a spectacular photo, I think the WS is more interesting, though that is not a masterpiece either, but the note is among the most enjoyable I've read on TE, I can totally imagine the mayhem, and the urge to photograph the local fauna having "fun", I'm not saying it's a bad photo either, but the note is essential to the experience.
plimrn (21344) 2006-12-09 9:20
I think both photos and the note really do convey the excitement of the event; it's funny but in some ways it reminds me of the Ocean Beach Christmas Parade - lacking of course the high-end vehicles. Ours featured a lot of people walking, scooters, rented trucks and for the high-end: old woodies (Station wagons made in the 1940s that featured real wood trim).
I think the similarity is celebrating the love (& pride) of one's community. I'd much rather see millions spent on a wonderful show than billions spent on killing people!! I'm doing these photos backwards so I'm refering to your photo taken 12/1.
Although they are sometimes linked, there is a clear difference between loving the space one occupies and thinking everyone else is wrong. However, I think the more satisfied people are with their own lives; the less likely they are to be willing to kill someone else.
SchwebagMike (1490) 2006-12-19 10:16
This surely is a very interesting shot because of the nice note explaining the context. TFS, Mike
axiotea (21649) 2007-01-27 4:03
A good documentary photo showing these young and wealthy guys going wild in the night with good light exposure and sharpness.In your WS, I found funny the guy sitting on the roof of the car with his mobile.
- Copyright: David Astley (banyanman) (7789)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2006-11-30
- Categories: Event
- Camera: Nikon D100, Nikkor AF-S 12-24mm f/4G ED
- Exposure: f/4, 1/60 seconds
- Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
- Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
- Date Submitted: 2006-11-30 16:44
- Favorites: 1 [view]