A woman wearing masks

Quarantine, but Make It Meaningful

30 ordinary teens, countless extraordinary stories.

“I feel like whether it’s man or woman, masculine and feminine, male or female, the most important thing right now is to be present. And that existence of presence in everyday life is something that reminds us of the beauty around us and helps us to be more observant of the opportunities or the hints or the nudges that we’re getting towards something that will make our lives more fulfilled – and hopefully mean more in the long run.”

So begins with my conversation with Tanya Rex, a makeup-artist-turned-commercial-photographer who managed to do the impossible during a lockdown: form connections. At a time of extreme social isolation, Tanya reached out to 30 teens from across the globe, asking them to document their lockdown lives through disposable film cameras – and The Quaranteen Project was born. But why this demographic? “I chose to use teenagers between the ages of 12 and 19 as I felt that this was the most likely age group to never have used a film camera, but could figure out how to use one with a little guidance,” she explains. They also unknowingly taught Tanya a thing or two.

“I realised how adaptable they were,” she says. “At a time in life, I think when most of us were totally confused about what we were doing, where we were going, what was why, what was wrong, what we believed, and what we didn’t believe, we were thrown into this huge pool that we haven’t really learned to swim in. And to have that on top of the stress of possibly being in the final year of school and moving on to college or hoping to get grades that will allow them to progress on the path they’ve chosen? They adapted to this new way of learning.”

Tanya sent out a questionnaire alongside the disposable cameras, and many of the teenagers admitted to their inability to focus at first, only to thrive once they accepted their new normal. “Once they got their heads around it, some of them actually excelled and realised what they were truly capable of when they weren’t being physically led by a teacher through life. And that adaptability was amazing for me to see and hear about. The other thing that I picked up on was that it didn’t matter where they came from – what culture, what religion, what financial background. Many of them said that all they wanted to do was hug their friends. And I think that says so much about society. They were from different corners of the world, but had the same longing and need. The word ‘hug’ put a smile on my face and brought a tear to my eye every time.”

Admittedly, asking Tanya to pick a favourite image from The Quaranteen Project is akin to asking a parent to choose their favourite child, but she obliges. “Oh, it’s really, really difficult – there were so many images that I fell in love with! But if I have to choose just one, it would have to be Afghanistan. And there’s a couple of reasons for this. I got the roll of film back fairly early on, when I wasn’t sure what to expect. When I sent off the cameras, I didn’t know if I was going to get two or twenty back. And I didn’t know if the images were going to be worth anything. I wasn’t really sure where I was going with it. I just knew I needed that connection and I needed to be doing something that was authentic.”

An initial batch of 11 rolls of film were sent to South Africa for development. “They were scanned and emailed back to me, and I remember the first folder that I opened was Afghanistan. I started going through the images and I was just blown away – there’s this one image of two or three children in a tree at sunset in Kabul. It’s really beautiful. And I think because Afghanistan is a place I haven’t been to and a place that I’ve only seen portrayed in American movies, it was really interesting to see what came back. And then there were the emotions of it being the first batch of images mixed with the effort that was put in and the trust that was given to me by the teenagers.”

Considering the suspension of postal services and other restrictions, logistical obstacles were a given, but some locations brought with them a unique set of challenges. “I managed to get a camera to a refugee camp in Sudan – that alone took nearly three months to reach. And the refugee camp is about a four-hour drive from the person who received the camera. It was all done through a charity called Idris Foundation and, when I followed up, I received a message from its founder Imad, who informed me of floods in Sudan. He was apologetic and I was disappointed, of course. But I accepted it.”

Three months later, Tanya heard from Imad again, this time with good news regarding the film. But what returned from Sudan was so much more than a handful of snapshots. “The photos were mostly of happy, smiling children,” reveals Tanya. “The teenager there said she wanted to show the world that even though she lived in a refugee camp, she wasn’t sad. It was a beautiful reminder of how fortunate we all are.”

As the pandemic continues to surge around the world, Tanya Rex will continue to release images from The Quaranteen Project in the coming months, culminating in a travelling exhibition – provided the ongoing situation allows for it, of course. In the meantime, you can view a selection of the visuals, below, before watching the story unfold at The Developing Story.

Olivia, 16, Seattle, WA, USA

Nargis, 16, Kabul, Afghanistan

Aigerima, 15, Bishkek, Kyrgystan

Sama 18, Kushi 14, Colombo, Sri Lanka

Kristers, 19, Ikskile, Latvia


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Blooming Beauty: A Guide to the Top Florists and Flower Delivery Services in Dubai

Blooms Everywhere

Dubai is known for its luxurious lifestyle and extravagant displays of beauty. And what better way to add a touch of elegance to any occasion than with a stunning bouquet of flowers? Whether you’re looking for a romantic gesture, a thoughtful gift, or simply want to brighten up your home, Dubai has a plethora of florists and flower delivery services to choose from. The top florists and flower delivery services in Dubai, are known for their luxury flower arrangements and exotic blooms.

Why Choose a Professional Florist?

While it may be tempting to pick up a bouquet of flowers from the local grocery store, there are many benefits to choosing a professional florist. Professional florists have a deep understanding of different types of flowers, their meanings, and how to arrange them in a way that creates a stunning display. They also have access to a wider variety of flowers, including exotic blooms that may not be available at your local store. Additionally, professional florists have the skills and tools to create intricate and unique arrangements that will truly make a statement.

Luxury Flower Arrangements for Special Occasions

When it comes to special occasions, such as weddings, anniversaries, or birthdays, a professional florist can help you create a truly memorable experience with their luxury flower arrangements. These arrangements often feature high-end flowers, such as orchids, peonies, and roses, and are designed to make a statement.

Exotic Flower Arrangements for a Touch of Glamour

For those looking for something truly unique and eye-catching, exotic flower arrangements are the way to go. These arrangements often feature rare and exotic blooms, such as protea, bird of paradise, and anthurium, that are not commonly found in traditional bouquets. Professional florists have the knowledge and expertise to create stunning arrangements with these exotic flowers, adding a touch of glamour and sophistication to any occasion.

Top Florists and Flower Delivery Services in Dubai

Now that we’ve established the importance of choosing a professional florist, let’s take a look at some of the top florists and flower delivery services in Dubai.

Bliss Flower Boutique

Located in the heart of Dubai, Bliss Flower Boutique is known for its luxurious and elegant flower arrangements. Their team of skilled florists creates stunning bouquets and arrangements using high-quality flowers sourced from around the world. They offer a wide range of services, including wedding and event floral design, corporate arrangements, and flower delivery. Their luxury flower arrangements are perfect for special occasions or as a gift for a loved one.

Upscale and Posh

Upscale and Posh is a luxury flower boutique that specializes in creating unique and extravagant floral arrangements. Their team of experienced florists uses only the freshest and most beautiful flowers to create stunning displays that are sure to impress. They offer a variety of services, including wedding and event floral design, corporate arrangements, and flower delivery. Their exotic flower arrangements are perfect for those looking to add a touch of glamour to any occasion.

Black Tulip Flowers

Black Tulip Flowers is a renowned florist in Dubai, known for their exquisite and creative floral designs. Their team of talented florists creates stunning arrangements using a variety of flowers, including rare and exotic blooms. They offer a range of services, including wedding and event floral design, corporate arrangements, and flower delivery. Their luxury flower arrangements are perfect for those looking for a touch of elegance and sophistication.

Flower Station Dubai

Flower Station Dubai is a popular flower delivery service in Dubai, known for their prompt and reliable service. They offer a wide range of flowers, including luxury and exotic blooms, and provide same-day delivery for orders placed before 6 pm. Their team of skilled florists can create custom arrangements for any occasion, making them a go-to choice for many in Dubai.

Bliss Flowers and Design

Bliss Flowers and Design is a luxury flower boutique that offers a wide range of floral services, including wedding and event floral design, corporate arrangements, and flower delivery. Their team of experienced florists creates stunning arrangements using high-quality flowers sourced from around the world. They also offer a subscription service, where customers can receive a weekly or monthly delivery of fresh flowers to brighten up their home or office.

How to Choose the Right Florist for You

With so many options to choose from, it can be overwhelming to find the right florist for your needs. We’ve got some recommendations and tips to help you make the right choice:

Consider Your Budget

Before you start looking for a florist, it’s important to have a budget in mind. It’s always best to narrow down your options and ensure that you don’t overspend.

Look at Their Portfolio

When choosing a florist, it’s important to look at their portfolio to get an idea of their style and the quality of their work. Most florists will have a portfolio on their website or social media pages, so be sure to take a look before making a decision. You can ask them to send you their PDF file or photographs of their work to get a sense of their work and style.

Read Reviews

Reading reviews from previous customers absolutely gives you valuable insights into a florist’s service and the quality of their arrangements. Look for reviews on their website, google reviews, social media pages, or consumer review sites. Dubai has plenty of community websites that offer reviews and recommendations.

Consider Their Specialties

Some florists may specialize in certain types of arrangements, such as luxury or exotic flower arrangements, while others may offer a wider range of services. Some might be great at setting up flowers for a bachelorette party while another may be great at sending flowers for the new mum.

Flowers are a beautiful and timeless way to express love, gratitude, and appreciation. With the help of a professional florist, let your creative juices flow to put together stunning arrangements that will make a lasting impression. Whether you’re looking for luxury flower arrangements, exotic blooms, or reliable flower delivery services, Dubai brings you all of it!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I choose the right florist in Dubai for a specific occasion or floral arrangement?

Consider the florist’s specialty, customer reviews, and the style of their arrangements. Some florists excel in weddings, while others are renowned for their unique bouquets. Our guide provides insights to help you make an informed choice based on your needs.

What are the advantages of using flower delivery services in Dubai and how do I ensure the freshness of the blooms upon arrival?

Flower delivery services in Dubai offer convenience and the assurance that your blooms will arrive in pristine condition. Select florists with efficient delivery systems and consider same-day delivery options for maximum freshness. Our guide highlights services that prioritize the quality and freshness of their floral arrangements.

Are these florists and flower delivery services suitable for various budgets, and do they offer customization options?

Yes, the featured florists cater to a range of budgets, and many offer customization options to suit your preferences. Whether you’re looking for an elaborate arrangement or a simpler bouquet, our guide provides details on the pricing and customization possibilities offered by each florist.


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