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Ten years ago, there were more than 800 individual buildings under construction in Dubai at any given time. Today, Dubai and Abu Dhabi suffer from a vast oversupply of real estate: some claim that as much at 40 percent of buildings are vacant, though plans for more development are in the works. Matthias Heiderich, a Berlin-based photographer, captured the construction market in crisp pastel tones during a trip to both cities earlier this year.
The self-taught Heiderich, whose photos of contemporary architecture have made him somewhat of a star online, bought his first camera in 2008. In the five years since, he’s been able to transition into photography full-time, supporting himself with editorial work and profits from his online store.
It’s hard to believe some of these images are real—the incredible scale of construction versus the complete absence of human beings is shocking, even if you’re familiar with the area. Still, the post-Recession construction boom shows no sign of slowing: just a few weeks ago, the UAE overtook Saudi Arabia as the Middle East’s biggest construction market.