Photographs by Idam Adam

Photographs by Idam Adam

This is what most people think when they hear, "I'm going to the Maldives".

An island paradise where entire islands are day spas for the rich and powerful, a place where you arrive home on your own private sea plane.

But there's a whole side to this island cluster that, like a cult-classic movie, has all the substance that its Hollywood blockbuster counter-part lacks.

The reality is, the majority people who live in the Maldives don't live in the lap of luxury. They live in a place where damage of the 2004 tsunami is still prominent. They live in a place where political unrest is ripe.

Maldivian born, Brisbane based photographer, Idam Adam took this series of photos last year. They show the unseen side of Maldives, the side you won't find in any travel agent.

This is the Maldives capital island, its population density is 1052 people/km², that's more than a person per square metre...


Residential islands are plagued with political competition, and houses  are often painted in pink, yellow or red to show support for certain political parties.

You really wouldn't want to be a swinging voter.


Although colourful architecture is now commonly used for political campaigning, the eye-searing colours have always been a part of the residential islands.

Idam says typical Maldives architecture will often be incomplete; notice the pile of rubbish and the water tank just inside the entrance.


For locals,  cross water boat commutes are just part of the daily grind.

Here the workers are returning home from one of their many island resorts.


Although it may not be the  tropical utopia it's made out to be ...its natural, unique beauty is undeniable.