man in Abu Dhabi at Sheikh Zayed Mosque

Considering how young it is, the United Arab Emirates has already made quite a mark on the world. Like shimmering diamonds in the desert, the cities of Dubai and Abu Dhabi have seemingly risen from the sand – and all in less than two hundred years. The urban hubs of the UAE provide an interesting juxtaposition of tradition and technology, of environmental austerity and luxury, of political controversy and financial freedom.

Nestled on the north coast against the Persian Gulf, the metropolis of Dubai is a significant business hub and global city within the Middle East. Attracting over 14 million visitors alone in the past year, it was named the best destination for Muslim travelers – and will continue to grow leading up to the World Expo 2020.

Moscow-based photographer Kirill Skom has been blowing up Instagram with his amazing shots of the two dynamic cities. From skyscrapers to mosques and the iconic Jumeirah Beach, his sharp cityscapes provide an intimate glimpse into the sprawling urban hubs. We chatted with Kirill about his work:

Your photos are great! Where's your favorite place in Dubai to shoot?

It's definitely Dubai Marina; I really like skyscrapers and there are a lot of them. 

What is it you enjoy and find unique about Dubai?

Don't get me wrong, but when you are visiting an Arabic country as a foreigner, you might not know what to expect from locals – so I was a bit skeptical. But I've met a lot of great people during my trip and all of them were so kind.

You take loads of cool, urban shots. What are your photography tips for those wanting to take similar architecture and city photos?

Tip #1 – there is only one tip – just go shoot. That's it. If you want to take some photos just go and do it, simple as that.


If a visitor had just 24 hours in Dubai, which three places would you recommend visiting?

The Burj Khalifa, the Dubai Marina and definitely the desert. I didn't get to go [to the desert] because of limited time, but desert is my main reason to come back to Dubai.


Where do you want to travel next for the photography opportunities? 

I want to travel to as many places as I can, but for now my main destinations are London and Amsterdam.