The Eyes of the Earth
Personal memories bear witness the man-driven environmental changes in the largest salt lake in the Middle East
Lake Urmia is located in the northwest of Iran. It was once the biggest salt lake in the Middle East, home to many birds like pelicans and flamingos. Ten years ago, the lake was still a popular destination among vacationers. The photographer's grandfather ran a lakefront hotel in Sharafkhaneh, and her uncles were sailors. She spent her childhood summers with her grandparents there: less than a decade ago, her grandfather would host dozens of people every day. It was the disappearing lake and faded childhood memories that prompted her to take the camera and start documenting the second largest salt lake on the planet. Over the past 20 years, approximately 80% of Lake Urmia dried up due to climatic changes, extensive agricultural activities, lack of proper water consumption management, and the several dams constructed on rivers in the lake's basin area. At the moment, hopes for the salt lake's survival have revived, after torrential rain in 2018 boosted a government program aimed at preserving it before it dries up completely.
Solmaz Daryani (1989) is an Iranian photographer & photojournalist, based in the UK and Iran. Her work is known for exploring the themes of climate security & change, water crisis, human identity and environment. Her work has been published by international magazines and newspapers