Skip navigation

With the brilliant blue skies draped over us these few days, it’s hard to stop thinking like a photographer.  Yesterday, I decided to capture a few shots of the water towers – something I’ve been wanting to do for some time now. I wasn’t prepared for how and where to get the best shots.  Even more so, I wasn’t prepared for the welcome and hospitality of the people there.

Not only did the gentleman invite me in… he handed me a cold bottle of water assuring me that I could take as much time as I needed.  It was like a dream.  On my way out, I stopped at the gate-office to thank him and his friends/colleagues.  I spent nearly an hour chatting, drinking coffee and, as if this wasn’t impressive enough, we discussed photography.  They were genuinely interested in the subject and asked many interesting questions about what makes a photo.  I was so overwhelmed by the positive reception, and how nice the people were, I forgot to ask the most basic of questions!  For instance I don’t know how many towers there are here, I have no idea about their capacity, nor do I know the height of each tower.  I would make a terrible investigative journalist, the worst in history.

The design of these towers goes back to the golden days of Kuwait.  Back to a time when we were making a bold statement to the world.  Kuwait was emerging as the modern city out of the sea and desert.  It was not enough to have things functional and doing-the-job.  There was a sense of difference which had to be achieved – often through an amazing attention to detail.  I’ve been around the world, and water towers are ugly and unsightly.  Here, they have become a landmark of each major suburb, and a design icon that says Kuwait as soon as you see a glimpse of the shape.

To achieve this pleasing result whilst maintaining a minimalist design, there are some aspects that are not immediately apparent, at least not to me.  I’ve seen these towers from the air (you could try Google Earth too).  The symmetry in their locations, as well as their simple and elegant shapes, are beautifully finished by the elegant white and blue lines.  Two colours, no more, and simple stripes from top to bottom.  The genius is in the matching of the lines: look at how all the lines correspond from one tower to another.

For readers from outside Kuwait, below is what the towers look like from the street level.  They’re visible from the highways and local parks.  They’re grouped together on farms, each tower standing as tall as a 10-storey building.  When I took the three shots below taken from a little distance, the dry land in the composition made me think just how much this place is a Concrete Oasis.

To the staff on site: Thank you for your warm welcome, your interest and of course for your wonderful hospitality.

65 Comments

    • Um Yousef
    • Posted 27 April 2010 at 7:50 am
    • Permalink

    Fantastic pictures that capture the day as well as the ‘wow factor’ of these towers…nicely done🙂

  1. Great series, and great use of the towers. I love the patterns and simplicity of it all. Nice story as well.

  2. Wow! Inspiring topic and pictures! I often ask why we are going to Kuwait with a pay cut and may challenging uncertainties and culture shocks, now I think we are going with a hidden purpose that we might not know yet. God has that purpose laid ahead of us. Kuwaitis are brave and honest people with endurance and integrity, and we are about to meet them, hear their history and see their creations. How exciting! See you in two months!

    • I ask the same question! Good luck with the move.

  3. By the way, I’ve been curious on how the water is processed in Kuwait. Hope there is a tour trip to a water plant. Are there any free Arab language courses for foreigners provided by the Kuwaiti government? Thank you in advance.

  4. GREAT BLOG! THANKS FOR SHARING🙂

  5. i go to the wordpress homepage .. and see the iconic water towers on the front page .. then i click and its YOU!!😀

    my dad works in the one near bayan palace .. or should i say ‘works’😛 hehe

    • Wow… This is where I went! That means the people who I mention are his friends. Tell him I said hello.

  6. These are fun!

    • becky
    • Posted 27 April 2010 at 5:50 pm
    • Permalink

    These pictures are incredible. I could see this as a textile…a spring dress perhaps. Or just as a photo is nice too.🙂

    • Thank you, becky. I would buy that fabric🙂

    • Mathai
    • Posted 27 April 2010 at 5:57 pm
    • Permalink

    wow! I’ve never seen them from these angles before. I love # 6 and the last one. Thanks for sharing🙂

  7. Really cool pictures…I like the angles.

    • srqpix
    • Posted 27 April 2010 at 7:19 pm
    • Permalink

    So beautiful against the blue sky

    • I’m glad I waited for the clear day…

  8. These images are awesome Mohammad. Beautifully captured.

  9. nice,makes me feel dizzzzzzy…plying the flicker slide show on my 42″ TV a natural high😉

  10. They look like anything but towers. Your first few pictures simply dont reveal their true identity. Concrete structures are made to look so beautiful.

    Lovely pics.

    • Thank you, Rohit. I’m not a big admirer of concrete – but anything done right gives a nice result.

  11. lovely lovely! thank you …

  12. What a landmark, blue striped water towers.
    Who knew, until you showed us pictures.

    Thanks,
    Remain.Simple

  13. Wonderful example of minimalism in art- great series!🙂

    • I agree… ‘Less is More’ is my motto in life. Thank you🙂

    • Kris
    • Posted 27 April 2010 at 11:49 pm
    • Permalink

    These are water towers?? They look like some fab sculptures in your pics! Lovely stuff!

    • I love the design. Thank you, Kris.

  14. Those pictures are sweet! Thanks for sharing.

  15. they are very playful!

  16. Thank you for sharing these pictures with us. This was wonderful.

    • Andrea
    • Posted 28 April 2010 at 7:58 am
    • Permalink

    Beautiful photos! I can almost imagine how the sunshine must feel!

    • Thank you. It’s starting to get a little too hot…

  17. Nice pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  18. very interresting designs and photographs

  19. Wonderful pictures! Love how the stripes correspond to each other. I think you shortchange yourself on your journalistic skills–you had a lot of info here. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you. You’re too kind. It was unintended info🙂 Appreciate your visit.

  20. Gorgeous photos. I stumbled upon them a few days ago, and have been thinking about them ever since. Great job.

    • Wow… Now that’s something!

      If I think of a photograph of a subject for more than 24 hours, it’s usually something a little different too.

  21. Very nice LOVE them

    • onlooker
    • Posted 30 April 2010 at 11:44 pm
    • Permalink

    wow a flood of comments for the wowed crowd i guess!🙂 great, as someone said concrete structures made to look so pretty, mundane made magical!🙂

    • It was featured on WordPress front page (Freshly Pressed) hence the many (many many) new readers.

      Thanks, onlooker.

  22. beautiful pictures🙂

  23. Amazing pictures! keep it up! Its great that your inquisitive!

    It would be great if they would allow a project o repaint them in an artistic pattern, something tasteful like you said, a little out there!

    We need more Art and interest in Kuwait!

    • Thank you. Always curious, often inquisitive🙂

      I would rather they stay as they are…

      I would love to see other places and structures improve: flyovers, pedestrian bridges,bus stops, road signs, landscaping, footpaths, parks… I could go on for a while!

  24. These photos are truly amazing. You should have left the streetlevel shots out. I prefer a little mystery.

  25. Gorgeous! Absolutely gorgeous, so intense, so vivid!

    • razaldo
    • Posted 5 May 2010 at 9:22 am
    • Permalink

    The perspective with which you shot these photographs are fantastic

    Again, you continue to delight with your amazing photographs

  26. Wow, never paid attention to the stripes corresponding from one tower onto the other. It’s very harmonious, and you caught it well in the pictures. Bravo!

  27. I found your site from the WordPress.com page which has several sites that are strong enough to make the page. Your site is wonderful and beautiful.

    Thanks.


One Trackback/Pingback

  1. […] in a cool glass of kuwaiti water tower it’s stuff like this that made me interested in anthropology.  so intriguing to me how one culture can take something as mundane and functional as water towers […]

Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: