School’s Out

October 29th, 2010

Some time ago I had was given an assignment to shoot the newest addition to the Lycee Louis Massignon French school – being the large, elegant building which now comfortably houses class rooms and a library. These were moved from their original location in a building which, due to expansion, was far outgrown.

I was given the run of the school campus and so ended up wandering around the old building where a lot of my friends here in Abu Dhabi had studied. I came across a place in transition. It was being emptied out and work had begun to refurbish the place. Some rooms were empty. Tables and chairs were stacked up in corridors. Paint was peeling off the walls. Notes and children’s drawing were still stacked up on boards in the halls and rooms. Some walls were being torn down.

It felt strange to be visiting a school that was not my own (I attended the International School of Choueifat here) and yet to feel as though the place was familiar and as though the halls and rooms should have been bigger – seen from the perspective of a small child.

Below, a selection of shots from the old school building.

It was strange to visit a place that once was so very alive with scampering children and to see it empty and quiet, yet still bearing evidence of their passing. I felt as though, if I listened carefully, I could hear their shrieks and laughter and pattering of small feet in the halls and the gentle scolding of teachers.

It makes me wonder if the traces of the past can ever be completely excised from a place – or a mind for that matter. Then I am reminded of Ovid‘s Metamorphoses. ”Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.

The new builds on the old, and the old makes way for the new. It is as it should be.

Everything changes, but nothing is truly lost.

On another note, check out the following for:

More coming soon!




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