© The Artist's Estate

Mosques at night. United Arab Emirates

Tim Hetherington (1970 – 2011)


Duratrans mounted in lightbox
Accession number


Vital Structures, 2008


These images reflect my mental and physical wanderings in Yemen and the UAE. Centered loosely by the motif of architecture, I tried to find some common ground between the two countries that might not be found in a tourist’s guidebook. 


Normally I work on long-term projects that seek a degree of intimacy and involvement with the subject. But since I spoke no Arabic, I had to employ an alternative strategy and started thinking of Walker Evans and his vernacular approach. The result took on the form of a photographic survey, examining the way that architecture can transform the harsh Arabian environment and harness important resources.


There are stark differences between what Yemen was and what UAE has become. Yet for all UAE's perceived glamour or Yemen's celebrated heritage, I found myself strangely drawn to everyday structures that verged on the banal and yet were rich in those details of daily life that go some way to express a sense of indigenous national character .






Tim Hetherington, 2008


From My Father’s House: The Architecture of Cultural Heritage, (exh. cat.) British Council, London  2009