To celebrate his 80th birthday in the Year of Zayed, the UAE’s famous Royal Photographer, Ramesh Shukla talks about his long and illustrious career. His retrospective includes an exhibit of 22 unseen photos of the country’s founding father, Sheikh Zayed.

Given his first camera (pictured above) at just 15 years old, Ramesh has enjoyed a career many could only dream of. He first met Sheikh Zayed at a desert camel race after cycling 18 miles from his home just for the chance. He then went to on to picture the Royal at several state and private occasions over the subsequent decades. Ramesh tells CNN he never asked for money, all he wanted was for the Sheikh to sign the photos

The exhibition has been organised by his son Neel Shukla who explained why they decided to release these images“My father has an archive of thousands of images and for the past 50 years this archive has been pretty much in filing cabinets. The negatives have been there but I had to restore them, bring them to life, touch them up, see exactly what the content is.”

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