Hasselblad X1D User Heath Holden: Disappearing Doha
Australian photographer Heath Holden moved to Doha, Qatar as the official documenter for the preparation of the 2022 FIFA World Cup. Discovering his new home through the lens of street photography, Heath explored the older and more traditional neighborhoods of the historical city. Spotting heavy construction everywhere, he sensed it would only be a matter of time until the small shopfronts and little alleyways of the old Doha would be no more.
Kicking off his photographic career at the local newspaper in northwest Tasmania in 2007, Heath Holden’s experience in the editorial environment gave him a wealth of knowledge in photographing people with a story-based approach. Later in 2008, he jumped to being the staff photographer at the Singapore Zoo, photographing a variety of assignments for internal departments, including advertising, educational, and archival work, plus documenting any significant zoological procedures.
Moving into a long-term natural history project to document the Tasmanian devil for the next 6 years, Heath simultaneously freelanced within the conservation, editorial and commercial market for Getty Images and numerous other organisations within Australia. Currently, he is working in Doha documenting preparation for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
TELL US THE STORY BEHIND YOUR SERIES, “DISAPPEARING DOHA”.
The Disappearing Doha series developed out of regular street photography exploration which took me into the older and more traditional neighborhoods of Doha. The whole city is under heavy construction and I sensed it would only be a matter of time before these places are gone.
As I wandered these areas into the night, I noticed the atmosphere change as the twilight and artificial lights merged. This was exactly what I needed to add a little more flavour to the series than a regular street feeling.
It is really enjoyable shooting during the twilight/blue hour period when the shop fronts and little alleyways come to life. Long story short, this is my story of the old Doha and its residents who call these endangered neighborhoods home.
WHY DO YOU SHOOT WITH THE X1D II 50C?
I had admired the X1D II from a distance for some time, and when I began to think about this series and the visual style, I became more curious about medium format and how it would be advantageous for this low light work.
The size appeals to me – I have been using smaller mirrorless and rangefinder cameras for the past couple of years and it has made it very clear to me that carrying DSLR’s and their oversized lenses is a nuisance and discourages me a lot. The X1D II seemed like it would suit my work well.
HOW DID YOU FIND THE FINAL FILES OF THE X1D II 50C?
The X1D II files are stunning. The natural colour solution produces very accurate tones with lifelike saturation and vibrancy and the colours are not all pumped up like a circus scene. I’m not a big post processor but the 16-bit depth and 14 stop dynamic range of the files honestly helped me with this series for sure, allowing me to work with levels, curves and some selective brush work to bring out shadow detail in the low light scenes and also to tame any crazy bright lights without degradation. The high ISO performance is beautiful and produces a classic looking grain rather than digital noise.
Find more of Heath Holdens work here.