Photographed and written by the ackn crew

“Dubai’s not that big…it’s a small stretch of land, right? Right?”

It’s interesting how the first way that people usually explore a city is through a map. Open up Google Maps and zoom across lines and blocks that make up a city. The problem is that maps are always skewed. Not only are they skewed because it’s impossible to accurately project a globe onto a flat map, but it’s also skewed due to our preconceptions. A block in a city might already coded into our minds as being half a mile because we grew up to knowing it as half a mile. You always go downwards to get to downtown. There’s only one central business district in the city. Where’s the water? The confusion takes time, long or short, to get over. For Dubai, the sheer vastness of the city is impossible to understand until you get your foot on the ground there.


Dubai is like a robot city. Very few people walk around on the sidewalks, save for special areas like the marina. All you see are shiny cars whizzing by or people traversing tunnels like ants. The heat shouldn’t be a problem – first, it’s not that hot and second, the city is quite clean. It could be that the density doesn’t promote walking. Things are so far apart, it’s difficult to get anywhere without a car or some form of non-human transport. So where are the bikes? Where’s the life?


Overhead, you hear and feel the pressure from the skyscrapers which compose a concrete jungle. The Burj Khalifa isn’t like the Patrona’s Towers – if you’re not looking up, you could miss it, but the moment you look, you can’t look away. Like a needle piercing the sky, it’s very obvious who’s here: the king of the jungle.

This photo series was written and photographed by the ackn crew. First visited in October 2017, the photos were taken in in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. This photo series is part of a set of photos taken in cities across the world. To see more, go to Places and discover other cities.