Doha, the capital of Qatar, is currently one of the fastest changing cities in the world. Besides the newly developed district of West Bay with modern high rise buildings, there are still parts of the old town to discover. Close to the traditional Souq Waqif and the new urban development Msheireb are many old houses. While theses old houses where formerly the home of Qatari families, they are now occupied by low wage workers. Doing photography on the streets of Doha it is a great joy due to the diversity of people and living environments.
Doha Street Photography
Since the development of the city doesn't stop, the space in the inner city is taken over more and more by new, modern buildings. Whole streets are getting demolished and inhabitants are moved to new buildings outside of the city.
In most cases the demolishing and renewal is inescapable because of the old tumble-down buildings which endanger the residents. However, with the ongoing demolition and renewal of the city and its inhabitants are changing.
During the last years I spend a lot of time downtown Doha to capture the people and streets and keep this alive, which will be history soon. I met many people and got invited many times for tea or even breakfast. People who are far away from being rich, people from Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Egypt, Sudan and from many other countries who are all living peacefully, downtown in some neighborhood.
Some of them are here since more than 40 years and earning money for the future of the families and children left back in their home countries. They usually go back to visit their families once a year. Since there are so many different nationalities within a small radius, you see a lot of different faces on the streets to be captured.
Free food during Iftar
During Ramadan this year I visited an area in downtown Doha, where free food is distributed. A long queue of people was patiently waiting for the food to arrive. At this location, a family from Qatar was doing the free food distribution. They are doing it every year daily during Ramadan as well as in a smaller scale even during the rest of the year. In Islam, the distribution of free food is very common during Ramadan and there are many other locations where this is practiced usually in big Iftar tents.
In Doha Street photography becomes more and more popular. When I started with my photo friend Win our weekly Friday morning downtown Doha walks, there where only a view others who withstand the heat to capture the street life. Now more and more people are getting organized in groups to keep the old city alive in the form of photographs. Sooner or later the old districts will be all gone and part of the history.