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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)

beautiful pictures :)

May 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterAmu

Amazing pictures! keep it up! Its great that your inquisitive!

It would be great if they would allow a project o repaint them in an artistic pattern, something tasteful like you said, a little out there!

We need more Art and interest in Kuwait!

May 1, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterMarzouq

Thank you for visiting, batikmania.

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

I love the design. Thanks.

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thank you. You're too kind. It was unintended info :) Appreciate your visit.

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Wow... Now that's something!

If I think of a photograph of a subject for more than 24 hours, it's usually something a little different too.

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thank you, ShoSho

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

It was featured on Wordpress front page (Freshly Pressed) hence the many (many many) new readers.

Thanks, onlooker.

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thanks :)

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

Thank you. Always curious, often inquisitive :)

I would rather they stay as they are...

I would love to see other places and structures improve: flyovers, pedestrian bridges,bus stops, road signs, landscaping, footpaths, parks... I could go on for a while!

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBu Yousef

These photos are truly amazing. You should have left the streetlevel shots out. I prefer a little mystery.

May 2, 2010 | Unregistered Commentermyphotoscout

Gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous, so intense, so vivid!

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterintlxpatr

The perspective with which you shot these photographs are fantastic

Again, you continue to delight with your amazing photographs

May 5, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterrazaldo

Wow, never paid attention to the stripes corresponding from one tower onto the other. It's very harmonious, and you caught it well in the pictures. Bravo!

May 6, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPascal H.

[...] in a cool glass of kuwaiti water tower it’s stuff like this that made me interested in anthropology.  so intriguing to me how one culture can take something as mundane and functional as water towers [...]

I found your site from the WordPress.com page which has several sites that are strong enough to make the page. Your site is wonderful and beautiful.

Thanks.

May 18, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterunforgivens

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