Why have you been hanging around these derelict buildings?
I’m very interested in urban change. I wanted to document spaces that are about to be abandoned or that could be abandoned soon. This is a project that deals with how culture changes through and in spaces. I was going around different places and shooting abandoned rooms and some semi-abandoned rooms then I went to see some houses of families that are moving out.
You must have run into some trouble when you were doing this…
Sometimes there were people that lived in these places, sometimes we’d get chased out. It was hard, because I’m female and I’m carrying around a camera and tripod. There were places we definitely weren’t supposed to be in and had to sneak around.
What is it that attracts you to these spaces?
I just feel that there was a hybrid culture in interiors that formed after the oil boom. It integrated a lot of European elements into houses here and yet there was still a regional influence in them. It formed a mid-point between where we are now and before the boom.
I guess I felt very attached to some of these spaces, you grow up as a child in them, it’s very sad almost. Now Nationals are moving to newer homes and there’s another culture that’s forming. It’s like there’s a certain feel to those old rooms that you can’t find in contemporary spaces. They were more personal and more human.
Presence by Lamya Gargash is available from The Third Line gallery, Al Quoz 1, behind Times Square.