As Hollywood describes them, Middle Eastern arms deals are nefarious meet-ups in the middle of a desert with black SUVs, automatic weapons and metal briefcases, but the reality is more like a sterile, home-appliance trade show.
Photographer Spencer Murphy visited Abu Dhabi’s 2007 International Defence Exhibition and Conference , or IDEX. Governments and contractors at the biennial expo fill their shopping carts with the latest weapons. Its show floor is packed with trade booths, but instead of iPad cases or videogames, they are populated by bored arms dealers in bad lighting.
There’s “an absence of death and destruction, and in their place [are] suited salesmen and plastic plants,” says Murphy. His resulting photo series is titled Architects of War.