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TransGlobe – Special Editions

Qatar: Realm of the Possible
CBQ Edition

Editor: Hossein Amirsadeghi
Essay: William Cook
Photography: Robin Friend

Two volume hardback books in slipcase,
32 x 27 cm, 88pp. and 264pp.

Qatar: Realm of the Possible charts, in the form of a vivid visual journey, the rise and current state of the nation of Qatar. More than 250 masterful and evocative photographs of the Qatari landscape, cutting-edge architecture, everyday vignettes and special events from camel beauty contests to high-speed car racing accompany a cross-section of profiles of the personalities who are helping to shape the transformation of this once sleepy, relatively small Gulf state into the rising super-mini-state that is today’s Qatar.

Situated on a peninsula jutting out into the sea halfway along the western coast of the Gulf, Qatar’s 11,400 square kilometres host a range of topographical features, including sandy coastline, mangrove swamps and desert dunes, all vividly captured here through beautiful art photography. Its inhabitants, numbering 1.7 million, hail from every country in the world. Less than a hundred years ago, Qatar had only a small resident coastal and nomadic Bedouin population. The sea was the major source of sustenance through pearling, fishing and trading. Today, it is the rich undersea hydrocarbon deposits that are bringing untold wealth and fast-moving prosperity to a tiny country punching way above its weight. With the highest GDP in the world and over US$25 trillion in proven hydrocarbon reserves to be monetised over the next hundred years, Qatar’s small desert population has morphed swiftly. The sprawling metropolis of its capital, Doha, is home to world-class educational institutions, prize-winning architecture and research centres at the forefront of their disciplines. Qatar is also home to what is arguably the strongest media voice in the region, as well as one of the world’s most respected organs of journalism, Al Jazeera. Thus a country smaller than the American state of Connecticut has achieved in decades what has taken a hundred years for other countries in the region to approximate. Qatar’s infrastructure growth and breathtaking financial expansion are not simply a testament to the richness of its oil and gas reserves, however. The wide-ranging and prescient vision of its ruler, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, along with his dynamic wife, Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, is shared by the majority of the population.

As both an exploration and a celebration of this vision, Qatar: Realm of the Possible explores modern-day Qatar, whose landscape and culture are rapidly changing in every sense while its people strive first and foremost to balance tradition with modernity.


Hossein Amirsadeghi is a long-time publisher, writer, editor and creative entrepreneur with a recent focus on the world of contemporary art. A Middle East specialist, he has written, edited and published many books on a wide range of subjects, produced a major international conference on art and patronage in the Middle East (2012), and made several television documentaries. His city and country book profiles include Istanbul Contrasts, Dubai: The Arabian Dream, Jordan: A Timeless Land and Phoenix Rising: UAE Past, Present & Future. Recent art books include Frozen Dreams: Contemporary Art from Russia, Contemporary Art Brazil, Korean Art: The Power of Now and Sanctuary: Britain’s Artists and their Studios, all published by Thames & Hudson. He is currently working on Art Studio America: Contemporary Artist Spaces, as well as surveys of contemporary art in Mexico and Scandinavia. City profiles on London and Rio de Janeiro are scheduled for next year.

William Cook has won six awards for his travel writing in the Independent, the Spectator and Condé Nast Traveller, including the Johann Strauss Gold Medal. As an author and editor, he has published a number of critically acclaimed and best-selling books. He has also worked for the BBC.

Robin Friend has an MA in Fine Art Photography from the Royal College of Art. As an artist he has exhibited internationally and won several awards for photography, and nominated twice for the prestigious Prix Pictet Award. In 2012 he exhibited at the National Portrait Gallery as part of the Taylor Wessing Prize. His photography featured in the critically acclaimed book Sanctuary: Britain’s Artists and their Studios published by Thames & Hudson.


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