Where there was once a desert, 16-lane highways dictate the urban rhythm and texture here, daily commutes often take several hours. So it’s little wonder that young Emiratis feel most at home in their cars. Cars symbolize freedom, besides being status symbols, cars also serve as a potent means of seduction in a society in which direct contact with the other sex is forbidden.
Fully Fueled brings together pictures taken from 2012 to 2014 by the young French photographer Basile Mookherjee, who documented young Emiratis’ nights out and the United Arab Emirates’ 42nd national holiday on the streets of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Flat, sprawled-out urban deserts, phallic urban geometries, reflecting surfaces and lavish ornamentation form the décor. The secret stars of these photographs are of course the cars, and the view seldom rises above windshield level. The human subjects, traditionally dressed in dishdasha (for men) and abaya (for women), seem as though photographed “through the lens of the car,” as the photographer puts it.