Cover Image

Pictured here: The dynamics of dental health in a live-in relationship.

Remembering the Floating Metropolis of Mina Zayed

As fishermen assemble their temporary settlements to leave Mina port, this series of photos captures the clash between permanence and transience.

Feb 29, 2020

All pictures in this essay were photographed by Angad Johar
Around June 2019, demolition work began at Mina Zayed Port — a hub for, among other things, fishermen and their wooden boats. I visited the port earlier that year for my First-Year Writing Seminar, Power and Ethics in Photography, in an attempt to capture this floating metropolis of wood and string. In conversation with the men at work — mostly from Gujarat, India — I found out that they’ve been occupying this space for years, even decades. Permanence clashes with transience as they have to leave in a matter of months. In a project that takes inspiration from [Sohail Karmani’s photo-essay] ( of the same space, I wanted to document how this collection of boats metamorphosed into their homes.
Image One
The rooftop balcony, where wet clothes bask in golden hour glory — a complex mechanism of intertwining strings.
Image Two
Clothesline in action. Look through the recurrent wooden panels of the boat and a frame shall emerge.
Image Three
The preservation of faith in glass cases — time for self-reflection, right next to memories.
Image Four
Corrugated chair melting in shades of the boat — in time, we shall be one.
Image Five
Stepping out of boat-city … possibly the frame.
Image Six
The evening theatre show — a man pouring water for a lost campus cat.
Image Seven
As with any living arrangement, someone needs to take shifts cleaning the boat.
Image Eight
Out into the world, bridging the gap between home and shore.
Image Nine
From the hulls of boat apartments, the city grows — the city and the boats integrated in the skyline.
Angad Johar is Deputy Features Editor and staff photographer. Email him at
gazelle logo