The National's best photo essays of 2021

The National's picture editors pick the best photo essays shot by staff photographers in 2021

Wrestlers of Dubai

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 5 APRIL 2021. PHOTO PROJECT FOR REVIEW. Wrestling ME match showcase noght where the wrestlers of Dubai practise their craft in anticipation of when they will be able to have full blown events open to the public in Dubai. (Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National) Journalist: Antonie Robertson Section: National.

Full story: Inside the painful but friendly world of the amateur grappler

UAE frontline workers from 10 countries talk about the challenges of the job

Victor Besa / The National

Full story: 'The National' asked 10 people at the forefront of the UAE's battle against Covid the question: what is the biggest challenge you have faced while being a PCR frontline worker?

The Abu Dhabi artisans preserving Bedouin skills

Khushnum Bhandari / The National

Full story: Women’s Handicraft Centre celebrates age-old techniques passed down from mothers to daughters

How you make ice in the desert

PHOTO PROJECT: ICE FACTORY. A visit to the Gulf Ice Factory & Modern Ice Factory (G&M Ice) located in Dubai Investment Park on June 15th, 2021. The manufacturing of Crystal Clear Ice Blocks whereby a  100cm x 60 cm x 30 cm, 200 kg perfectly clear block of ice is produced over the course of a week. This is accomplished by keeping the water in motion using air while it is slowly frozen. This causes the forming ice to form without traping air inside itself, giving it a clear see through finish that is then used to creat ice sculptures. These ice sculptures can anywhere from 6-12 days before fully melted.
The company first started producing ice in the UAE in 1976 in the emirate of Sharjah followed by setting up of multiple units like Modern Ice Factory in 1989, Quality Ice Distribution Office in 1992, Tube Ice Production in 2000 & its latest production facility at Dubai Investments Park launched in May 2008. They are the largest ice producer in the UAE. 
Antonie Robertson / The National.
Reporter: Antonie Robertson for National

Full story: Gulf Ice Factory & Modern Ice Factory – G&M Ice – in Dubai Investment Park started producing ice in the Emirates in 1976

Inside the UAE's only shrimp farm

Pawan Singh / The National

Full story: This is how Al Jaraf Fisheries produces millions of shrimp and fish in one of the world’s driest countries

September 11, 20 years on

Antonie Robertson / The National

Full story: Americans now resident in the UAE talk about their experience of that day

The UAE's retro water towers

View of the old water tank in Al Khazzan Park in Dubai on June 14,2021. Pawan Singh / The National.

Full story: From Dubai to Umm Al Quwain, the water tanks take us back in time

The UAE's 14 most quirky roundabouts

Chris Whiteoak / The National

Full story: From a fish sculpture in Deira to oysters in Ras Al Khaimah

The men operating the world's largest dhow

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES. 28 JANUARY 2021. Project: Crew member portraits of the the worlds largest wooden Arabic dhow hand built in JADAF, Dubai as recognized by Guinness World Records. The hand built dhow measures 91.47 m long and 20.41 m wide which makes it almost as long as Big Ben is tall in London. The dhow itself weighs in at 2,500 tonnes and has a carrying capacity of 630 cars as cargo. This was proven on its maiden voyage when it delivered them to Yemen and returned to Dubai.
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Captain Ali Mohammed, 40, Gujarat, India. “I’ve been a sailor for 26 years now. I started very young, but I loved the life from as early as I can remember. Now that I’ve been a captain for the last 18 years I’m happy to be on board the worlds biggest dhow. I see this ship like one of my children.”

(Photo: Antonie Robertson/The National)

Full story: The enormous Obaid, a 20m wide and 11m tall vessel, holds the record for the largest wooden Arabic dhow in the world

Updated: December 15th 2021, 3:53 AM