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Last Updated : Oct 22, 2020 08:16 PM IST | Source: AP

Coronavirus | Photographer helps laid-off expats bid goodbye to Dubai

When the coronavirus pummeled Dubai this spring, the maternity and wedding shoots and all the gigs that freelance photographer Paula Hainey had lined up vanished almost overnight.

Associated Press
When the coronavirus pummeled Dubai this spring, the maternity and wedding shoots and all the gigs that freelance photographer Paula Hainey had lined up vanished almost overnight. Freelance lifestyle photographer, Paula Hainey takes photos of Darrin Chapman, a pilot recently laid off by long-haul carrier Emirates, his wife, Jodi Chapman, and their daughter Harper, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, October 14. (Image: AP)

When the coronavirus pummeled Dubai this spring, the maternity and wedding shoots and all the gigs that freelance photographer Paula Hainey had lined up vanished almost overnight. Freelance lifestyle photographer, Paula Hainey takes photos of Darrin Chapman, a pilot recently laid off by long-haul carrier Emirates, his wife, Jodi Chapman, and their daughter Harper, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, October 14. (Image: AP)

She wasn’t alone. Within weeks, she knew too many jobless people to count. As the pandemic shut borders and grounded flights, businesses collapsed in the skyscraper-studded Persian Gulf city, once the world’s busiest international air travel hub. The cascade of layoffs forced tens of thousands of expats residing in the United Arab Emirates on temporary work visas to pack up and buy tickets home. (Image: AP)

She wasn’t alone. Within weeks, she knew too many jobless people to count. As the pandemic shut borders and grounded flights, businesses collapsed in the skyscraper-studded Persian Gulf city, once the world’s busiest international air travel hub. The cascade of layoffs forced tens of thousands of expats residing in the United Arab Emirates on temporary work visas to pack up and buy tickets home. (Image: AP)

“I remember thinking, a popular request even before COVID, expats would come and hire me to photograph them at landmarks as a keepsake,” Hainey said from the beach where she captures families’ final moments in Dubai. In the distance, the iconic sail profile of the Burj Al Arab hotel and Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on the planet, peeked through the light morning haze. “If you’ve been living here for 15 years, you want something to remember it by.” (Image: AP)

“I remember thinking, a popular request even before COVID, expats would come and hire me to photograph them at landmarks as a keepsake,” Hainey said from the beach where she captures families’ final moments in Dubai. In the distance, the iconic sail profile of the Burj Al Arab hotel and Burj Khalifa, the tallest building on the planet, peeked through the light morning haze. “If you’ve been living here for 15 years, you want something to remember it by.” (Image: AP)

To fill her newly free hours, Hainey had an idea. In groups for expats on Facebook, she offered free photo shoots to families abandoning the lives they had built in the UAE because of the pandemic. “A lot of them are senior staff, meaning they’ve been here for 15-20 years, their kids were raised here, then they’re sent back ‘home,’” Hainey said. “But their home has been Dubai.” (Image: AP)

To fill her newly free hours, Hainey had an idea. In groups for expats on Facebook, she offered free photoshoots to families abandoning the lives they had built in the UAE because of the pandemic. “A lot of them are senior staff, meaning they’ve been here for 15-20 years, their kids were raised here, then they’re sent back ‘home,’” Hainey said. “But their home has been Dubai.” (Image: AP)

Long-haul carrier Emirates, the biggest in the Middle East, received a $2 billion bailout from the Emirati government after cutting salaries for half its staff and firing an undisclosed number of employees. The pandemic has dealt a particularly devastating blow on everyone. Most of her subjects are pilots and others in the aviation industry, whose fortunes plummeted as the pandemic brought the world to a grinding halt. (Image: AP)

Long-haul carrier Emirates, the biggest in the Middle East, received a $2 billion bailout from the Emirati government after cutting salaries for half its staff and firing an undisclosed number of employees. The pandemic has dealt a particularly devastating blow on everyone. Most of her subjects are pilots and others in the aviation industry, whose fortunes plummeted as the pandemic brought the world to a grinding halt. (Image: AP)

First Published on Oct 22, 2020 08:14 pm
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