HIGHLIGHTS from “Inhabited Deserts” in Dubai

“Chara Sands” by John R. Pepper. (Supplied)
Updated 18 December 2018

HIGHLIGHTS from “Inhabited Deserts” in Dubai

DUBAI: John R. Pepper’s ‘Inhabited Deserts,’ is showcasing at The Empty Quarter in Dubai until January 27.

“Chara Sands”
In his artist’s statement for this exhibition, the Italian photographer explains that merely capturing the beauty of the desert was not enough. “My goal,” he writes, “has been to use the desert as a painter uses a virgin white canvas … I attempt to find the symbiosis between the landscape before me and the imagery buried within me.”

Here, Pepper captures an anthropomorphic figure in the stones of the South Sinai in Egypt. “Suddenly the rocks, these non-living elements, were transformed into the opposite: living, expressive, vibrant figures,” he writes. Pepper’s photographs are taken using a “small Leica, 35mm lens and Ilford film.”

“Dasht –e Lut”
Many of Pepper’s desert landscapes are so seemingly empty that they approach the abstract. But in his essay on the exhibition, Kirill Petrin writes: “Who said that deserts are uninhabited? Pepper’s work populates them with our thoughts, our dreams. It’s up to you, these photos seem to say. It’s entirely up to you to take the voyage out, and linger, and decide.”


Nora Attal has her day in the sun in Marrakesh

Updated 19 March 2019

Nora Attal has her day in the sun in Marrakesh

DUBAI: British-Moroccan model Nora Attal posed up a storm in Marrakesh’s golden sunlight for a new campaign by fashion brand Zara.

The in-demand model shared snaps from the campaign, photographed by Christian Macdonald, on her Instagram account.

The collection of photographs show Attal modelling looks from Zara’s laid-back Spring/Summer 2019 collection against a backdrop of rippling sand dunes. Her featured ensembled include kaftans and long-length cardigans with hefty stripes in a clay-and-beige color palette.

Attal is no stranger to fronting campaigns — in January, the model was chosen as one of seven rising stars to feature in British fashion house Alexander McQueen’s latest campaign.

The Spring/Summer 2019 collection photoshoot was shot by British fashion and documentary photographer Jamie Hawkesworth and featured Attal wearing a number of cowboy-inspired looks.

The year has gotten off to a busy start for Attal, who was similarly in demand in 2018, when she took to the catwalk for Elie Saab, Loewe and Dior during Paris Fashion Week in September and starred in Italian fashion label Versace’s summer advert campaign.

In May, luxury e-retailer Farfetch launched in the Middle East with a little help from the young model.

She starred in a photoshoot wearing pieces from collections on sale on the platform. The colorful photographs were accompanied by a snappy, chatty interview with the young model.
Readers got the chance to gain insight into her earliest fashion memories and learn some off-the-cuff facts about the star.

“Recently I’ve been obsessed with noughties trends. Everyone was so cool and effortless back then. Now I go out in a full Juicy Couture tracksuit with no shame,” she told Farfetch at the time.

“If I wasn’t a model, I’d probably be at university, studying to get into something like criminal investigations, profiling or law,” she added.

Attal finished off 2018 by hitting the sand dunes in the UAE — however, this time it wasn’t part of a high-end photoshoot, but rather a day of fun.

The model enjoyed an afternoon of sandboarding in the emirate of Sharjah and even posted a snap on Instagram at the time.

“Apparently sandboarding is a thing,” she captioned the sunset shot.