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Bedu Boujee: A Local Perspective.


A series of Polaroid photos depicting local Bedu lifestyles between 2012 and 2014 in the Arabian Peninsula. The borrowed digital images have been extracted from publically shared social media content and reprinted into physical artifacts.


In 2012 Instagram introduced the “Explore” tab as a way to discover new people and photographs. At that time, the images that populated the “Explore” feed were either geo-tagged to nearby locations or relational to friends (unlike today’s feed which is flooded with high-profile influencers). The images were open to public domain with a clause they could not be used for commercial gain.

At this moment in time I had been living as an expat in Qatar for approximately four to five years. I often explored my physical surroundings and took photos of my expat-life encounters. However, it occurred to me how difficult it was to gain insight into the perspectives of Nationals. I turned to Instagram as a way to digitally explore my surroundings through the eyes of others. 
The idea of ‘borrowing’ public images comes from my longtime intrigue with the work of artists such as Richard Prince and John Baldessari. Instagram, a direct digital evolution of the ‘insta’ Polaroid, sparked a curiousity in me to data-mine insta-images from the “Explore” feed and print them in a square Polaroid format. The translation process from digital to physical (and back to digital) allowed the low resolution pixeled images to transpose nicely into the aesthetics of a Polardoid.

In 2012-14 the emergence of the ‘selfie’ had not gained popularity due to poor front camera quality, so many images at that time were still from the ‘others’ perspective. The male dominated content is the result of cultural conditions. It is often frowned upon for women to appear in photos or post images of themselves, and at that time privacy features were not the same as today. Doha is a fast-growing urbanized center heavily influenced by European ideals, however, the images that were often posted seem to speak of a bedouin nostalgic past, mixed with emerging economic privilege. They reflect everyday happenings, luxury living, private jets, desert life, and a love for falcons, camels and exotic animals. 

In our current era of social media lifestyles and fleeting temporality of digital images, I wanted to suspend time through physical artifacts. Below are 99 photographs formed into mini-narratives of life in that moment, as it has now vanished.