Monday, April 29, 2013

Swan Lake with extra feathers

I realise that Dubai is in the news for somewhat more serious reasons today but I wanted to share this picture that I made him indoors take out of the car window on the way to work last week:

There's a similar poster on Sheikh Zayed Road, advertising Swan Lake, the ballet that's inspired generations of small girls to don white tutus and torture their feet in the hope of one day dancing the lead role.
You'll notice that there's something rather different about the picture above and the picture on my link. That's right, they've photoshopped t-shirts on to the ballerinas on the large billboard along Al Khail Road, ditto the poster on Sheikh Z.

As a resident of Dubai, you get used to this sort of thing - seeing a friend who was wearing a mildly revealing dress with a polo neck photoshopped on to them when their picture appears in one of the social pages of a local magazine, seeing written complaints in the newspapers from people who think pictures of various Hollywood stars were too provocative, reports that bikinis may or may not have been banned on public beaches in the Northern Emirate of Ras Al Khaimah (an hour or so's drive from Dubai).

But, it's a signifier of why you have to get used to thinking carefully, particularly in my line of work, about what you're printing and publishing, because, while generally speaking, you can go about your business as normal, there's always a possibility that you could offend someone. It's tempting to laugh at the slightly dodgy photoshopping, but it's a reminder that in the UAE, one person's ballerina is another's immoral imagery.

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