Pearl of Iran

Visual Sunday

When I was 10, my father was hospitalised due to kidney disease in a hospital in Urmia, a city in northwestern Iran. Back home in Tabriz, my mother, my five-year-old sister and I were waiting for news of my father’s recovery. After a few days, as his illness was getting worse, my mother took us to Urmia. At that time, the only communication between Tabriz and Urmia was the small passenger ships crossing from one shore of Lake Urmia to the other.

In spite of my young age, and despite not having any real awareness of the situation, I was filled with fears and worries. The boats were stopped because of the stormy weather, but we arrived on time to board the last ship. We sat next to one of the ship’s window. It was a one hour trip and I stared out the window the whole time. My feelings of anxiety and fear had given way to a sense of peace. Outside was a beautiful picture of a blue lake and a cloudy sky, and the rain kept dropping on the window of the ship. It was a beautiful moment that I have not forgotten.

Since 2011, when I started taking pictures of Urmia, I have been looking for that sort of lost beauty, but in all my photos I can only witness a salty death.

Outside was a beautiful picture of a blue lake and a cloudy sky, and the rain kept dropping on the window of the ship. It was a beautiful moment that I have not forgotten.

Lake Urmia is the second largest brine lake in the Middle East and is located in Iranian Azerbaijan. In 2002, Lake Urmia began being threatened by drought and in 2014, it was announced that the dryness of the lake is over 75%. The drought is not caused by some revengeful act of nature but is solely a human irresponsibility. The lake, it’s ability to live and breathe, has been damaged by things like diggings of wells, dams built in rivers that used to pour into the lake, and bad agricultural management.

Photography has the power to cause a change in visions. I hope that these images can be be part in changing the course of Lake Urmia, and allowing it to once again be a place for good memories and all those who praise moments of beauty.

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