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Tuesday
Apr272010

Watermark

With the brilliant blue skies draped over us these few days, it's hard to stop thinking like a photographer.  Yesterday, I decided to capture a few shots of the water towers - something I've been wanting to do for some time now. I wasn't prepared for how and where to get the best shots.  Even more so, I wasn't prepared for the welcome and hospitality of the people there.

Not only did the gentleman invite me in... he handed me a cold bottle of water assuring me that I could take as much time as I needed.  It was like a dream.  On my way out, I stopped at the gate-office to thank him and his friends/colleagues.  I spent nearly an hour chatting, drinking coffee and, as if this wasn't impressive enough, we discussed photography.  They were genuinely interested in the subject and asked many interesting questions about what makes a photo.  I was so overwhelmed by the positive reception, and how nice the people were, I forgot to ask the most basic of questions!  For instance I don't know how many towers there are here, I have no idea about their capacity, nor do I know the height of each tower.  I would make a terrible investigative journalist, the worst in history.

The design of these towers goes back to the golden days of Kuwait.  Back to a time when we were making a bold statement to the world.  Kuwait was emerging as the modern city out of the sea and desert.  It was not enough to have things functional and doing-the-job.  There was a sense of difference which had to be achieved - often through an amazing attention to detail.  I've been around the world, and water towers are ugly and unsightly.  Here, they have become a landmark of each major suburb, and a design icon that says Kuwait as soon as you see a glimpse of the shape.

To achieve this pleasing result whilst maintaining a minimalist design, there are some aspects that are not immediately apparent, at least not to me.  I've seen these towers from the air (you could try Google Earth too).  The symmetry in their locations, as well as their simple and elegant shapes, are beautifully finished by the elegant white and blue lines.  Two colours, no more, and simple stripes from top to bottom.  The genius is in the matching of the lines: look at how all the lines correspond from one tower to another.

For readers from outside Kuwait, below is what the towers look like from the street level.  They're visible from the highways and local parks.  They're grouped together on farms, each tower standing as tall as a 10-storey building.  When I took the three shots below taken from a little distance, the dry land in the composition made me think just how much this place is a Concrete Oasis.

To the staff on site: Thank you for your warm welcome, your interest and of course for your wonderful hospitality.

 

Reader Comments (66)

Fantastic pictures that capture the day as well as the 'wow factor' of these towers...nicely done :)

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterUm Yousef

Great series, and great use of the towers. I love the patterns and simplicity of it all. Nice story as well.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSean Kane

Wow! Inspiring topic and pictures! I often ask why we are going to Kuwait with a pay cut and may challenging uncertainties and culture shocks, now I think we are going with a hidden purpose that we might not know yet. God has that purpose laid ahead of us. Kuwaitis are brave and honest people with endurance and integrity, and we are about to meet them, hear their history and see their creations. How exciting! See you in two months!

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPolar Panda

By the way, I’ve been curious on how the water is processed in Kuwait. Hope there is a tour trip to a water plant. Are there any free Arab language courses for foreigners provided by the Kuwaiti government? Thank you in advance.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPolar Panda

GREAT BLOG! THANKS FOR SHARING :)

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBreland Kent

i go to the wordpress homepage .. and see the iconic water towers on the front page .. then i click and its YOU!! :D

my dad works in the one near bayan palace .. or should i say 'works' :P hehe

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterQ80BOY

These are fun!

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentershutterboo

These pictures are incredible. I could see this as a textile...a spring dress perhaps. Or just as a photo is nice too. :)

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbecky

wow! I've never seen them from these angles before. I love # 6 and the last one. Thanks for sharing :)

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMathai

Really cool pictures...I like the angles.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterramonakent

So beautiful against the blue sky

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commentersrqpix

These images are awesome Mohammad. Beautifully captured.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterdave

nice,makes me feel dizzzzzzy...plying the flicker slide show on my 42" TV a natural high ;-)

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAdrenaline

They look like anything but towers. Your first few pictures simply dont reveal their true identity. Concrete structures are made to look so beautiful.

Lovely pics.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRohit

lovely lovely! thank you ...

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterloveinotherplaces

Thank you :)

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thank you, Sean.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

I ask the same question! Good luck with the move.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thank you, Breland.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Wow... This is where I went! That means the people who I mention are his friends. Tell him I said hello.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thank you, shutterboo.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thank you, becky. I would buy that fabric :)

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

What a landmark, blue striped water towers.
Who knew, until you showed us pictures.

Thanks,
Remain.Simple

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterRemain.Simple

1 and 6 are my favourites :)

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thank you, Ramona.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

I'm glad I waited for the clear day...

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thanks, dave.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

... and no charge :)

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thank you, Rohit. I'm not a big admirer of concrete - but anything done right gives a nice result.

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thank you, thank you :)

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef
April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Wonderful example of minimalism in art- great series! :)

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterchrisrc

These are water towers?? They look like some fab sculptures in your pics! Lovely stuff!

April 27, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKris

Those pictures are sweet! Thanks for sharing.

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterfondutv

I agree... 'Less is More' is my motto in life. Thank you :)

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

I love the design. Thank you, Kris.

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thank you for visiting :)

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

they are very playful!

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTri

Your pictures are amazing!

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenternifstevens

Thank you for sharing these pictures with us. This was wonderful.

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrubiescorner

Beautiful photos! I can almost imagine how the sunshine must feel!

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAndrea

Nice description :)

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thank you for your visit, Rubie.

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thank you. It's starting to get a little too hot...

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Nice pictures. Thanks for sharing.

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbatikmania

very interresting designs and photographs

April 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterkoosretief

Wonderful pictures! Love how the stripes correspond to each other. I think you shortchange yourself on your journalistic skills--you had a lot of info here. Thanks for sharing!

April 29, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterstroogie

Gorgeous photos. I stumbled upon them a few days ago, and have been thinking about them ever since. Great job.

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteradria bredemann

Very nice LOVE them

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterShoSho

wow a flood of comments for the wowed crowd i guess! :) great, as someone said concrete structures made to look so pretty, mundane made magical! :)

April 30, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteronlooker

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