Saudi Arabia after dark: the photography of Céline Stella

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Saudi Arabia is awash with one of the world’s most valuable commodities: oil. But electricity is a different matter. 

Up until 100 years ago, the country had no electrical power at all. Perhaps this is why there’s such an emphasis on it by Saudi shop owners today. In the darkness of the nighttime desert or beach, multi-coloured neon lighting is a good way to attract customers. 
 
Photographer Céline Stella has captured this phenomenon in a beautiful new book, NOUR
 
“The neon shapes and objects photographed here first caught my attention when we were driving through the desert at night a couple of summers ago,” she says. “It was pitch dark and suddenly these kiosks appeared like balls of light in the middle of nowhere. The contrast between the light and what was all around them – a vast, dark emptiness – made me smile.”
 
The use of the lighting says much about the country and the importance that is placed on status. 
 
“A lot of Saudi people really like bright, neon light as it’s a sign of luxury and modernity. This is why we find it everywhere in Jeddah;
not just out in the surrounding desert, but in people’s houses and businesses. It feels like a status symbol or a lucky charm.”

The book is available to buy from the No UFO's website. Click here







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