Dazed Digital

Dubai / العربية

In Pictures: Philip Cheung

October 17, 2011

The award winning Canadian photographer whose move to Dubai in 2007 has resulted in poignant portrayals of the greater region

  • Text by Simone Sebastian

Philip Cheung is a Canadian photographer based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai. Following a move to the Middle East in 2007, he has been working in the region on various commissioned and non-commercial projects, and has been published and exhibited internationally. Satellite Voices caught up with the photographer, named one of PDN’s New and Emerging Photographers to Watch for 2011, to find out more about his work in the region.  

Satellite Voices: How long have you lived in Dubai and what brought you here?
Philip Cheung: I originally relocated to the UAE from Toronto when I was hired as a staff photographer for The National. After two years at the paper, I decided to pursue a freelance career and was based in Beirut temporarily before heading back to Abu Dhabi. 

SV: A lot of your work documents the social and political situations in Iraq, Palestine and Afghanistan. What led to your interest in the region?
Philip Cheung: The Middle East has always intrigued me, but it just seemed so far away growing up in Canada. Moving here really exposed me to the issues in the region, and I quickly gained an interest in documenting the daily lives of younger generations living in conflict and post-conflict areas. I want to gain a better understanding about what its like to live under these conditions, especially in this rapidly changing region. 

SV: Tell us about shooting the "Kurds in Post-Saddam Iraq" series.
Philip Cheung: I first went to Iraqi Kurdistan in 2008 and returned twice since then. It's a fascinating region in Northern Iraq that I find hasn't been photographed extensively, and its a project that I still want to keep working on and hope to make into a book someday. 

SV: You have taken portraits of some iconic political figures, including Tony Blair and George W. Bush. Which session of the two is more memorable to you, and why?
Philip Cheung: I would have to say photographing George W. Bush when he was here in 2008. It was one of my first assignments with The National and I was given a great amount of access and time to photograph him during his visit to Abu Dhabi. 

SV: Are there any upcoming projects you'd like to tell us about?
Philip Cheung: I still have a few projects that I'd like to keep working on in Kurdistan and Palestine, but I've been thinking a lot about Libya lately.

All images by Philip Cheung from the series - "The Kurds in Post-Saddam Iraq"

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