It’s funny how quickly the pace of photographic tech has been evolving since the switch to digital. It’s not just the gear, but some of the processes. Take timelapses, for example. Can you remember the first time you saw one? For many of us, it was to the hypnotic and soothing voice of David Attenborough as he meticulously described the blooming of a flower on whatever National Geographic or BBC program we were watching. “How?” we wondered, “did they do that? What patience the photographers must have.” Now though? You can do one on your phone even if your brain had been replaced by a cauliflower.
While we still sort of love them, perhaps, in part, due to the reminiscent feelings, they fail to shock us, or even really hold our attention anymore. Then hyperlapses came about and that shook it all up a bit. But then there’s what Rob Whitworth does, and that makes your average timelapse and hyperlapse look as outdated and unevolved as sexual stereotyping.
We’ve featured a few of his projects here before, and for good reason, they are absolutely astonishing. In fact, I’m running out of superlatives to describe them. From the festive streets of Barcelona, to the mystery-shrouded streets of Pyongyang, Whitworth’s ‘flow-motion’ videos dissolve our notions of timelapses, and make us question our senses. ‘How did he do that?’ is invariably a question that runs through your head as you watch his past works, and even more-so on the one featured here, in Dubai.
Dubai, whatever your thoughts on it, is a testament to human will, ability, and money. It’s home to people with enough of it to turn the desert green, or in fact, into not a desert at all. It rises like an oasis reminiscient of fabled mirages, except it’s all too real, and impressive. Incredibly, Whitworth manages to create something that’s visually more stunning than the place itself, and at the same time, capture the human aspect to it most other films of the place are so devoid of.
It covers 3 months worth of exploring, researching, and filming, in 3 minutes. From boarding, flying, and landing in one of the Emirates’ giant A380s, to scaling and sinking through the Burj Khalifa, the video storyboard encapsulates an entire trip. In fact, it’s the storyboard and cooperation of the city that really helps to pull this video into its own stratosphere. As a photographic accomplishment, it’s really quite something. See for yourself.
Here are a few more extended scenes in 4k:
Images are screen caps from featured video