Expo 2020

November 8, 2021 On Assignment

For the better part of September, I was living out of a hotel room in Dubai, UAE, working with a team producing a digital experience of the World Expo in Dubai. I signed an NDA and contract which unfortunately meant I couldn't take any photographs on site, but thought I'd write a little about my experience and share a couple personal photographs from the trip. I was brought on to tone and edit stitched photographs and videos of exhibits and to help build some of the digital tours for the 264 pavilions we were supposed to digitize for virtual tours. It was all part of helping expand participation in the World Expo, which has obviously been affected by the pandemic. You can check out those virtual tours here: https://virtualexpodubai.com/

It was pretty amazing getting to work on so many of these tours to see what the various countries participating had built. It was a tedious job, going through every single stitched image to clean up any stitching errors and to remove the camera or crew anytime they were caught in a reflection, but simultaneous very fulfilling. The long days weren't too painful, thankfully, as we had a really good crew of people that were quick and constant with the jokes.

Dubai was hot and humid, as you can see from my selfie. I couldn't step outside without immediately becoming blind from my glasses fogging up. I was fortunate enough to mostly be working inside during the long days on site, but there were the trips out for lunch or just walking to the site from parking where I'd immediately get drenched from the 115+ degree weather. My hotel room was my little temporary apartment and often had my laundry - washed in my in the sink - hanging from the various walls. The days were totally consumed by work, but on the weekends I was able to make trips down to Abu Dhabi to spend time with my sister, her husband, and his family. It was really great to see everyone after not having seen them for a few years, and they always treat me to amazing home cooked food - and we went to my favorite Iraqi restaurant in Dubai. I left before the end of September so that I could return for a friend's wedding, but spent all of October working remotely to help finish the project.

I'm always looking for work that gives me an opportunity to visit my family in the UAE, so this was a real treat. Hopefully there's more work down the line that gives me another opportunity like this to spend time with them during my downtime.