Photofusion Member | Alethia Casey

The Disappearance of Lake Urmia

Iranians flock to the water during the annual Persian New Year Celebrations. Many go to the Caspian Sea and others in the Northern Regions go to Lake Urmia, a body of water which is the largest salt lake in the Middle East.The massive lake lies far away from the country’s capital Tehran, in the province of West Azerbaijan. The lake used to be an important feeding ground for huge amounts of wildlife and birds.

Today, due to drought, irrigation and damming projects which block the water flow Lake Urmia is emptying fast in what used to be a massive body of water. Now the water is so far away from the shore that it takes almost half an hour to reach it by foot. The salt crunches and brakes underfoot, while the boats sit awkwardly on the salty surface of the lake, a mockery of their old lives. It is feared that if the lake dries completely the many towns and cities positioned close to the massive lake will be covered with life threatening salt and dust which will blow straight from the lake and cover the life which once thrived.

It has recently been suggested by environmental experts that in order to save Lake Urmia from drying completely water should be pumped all the way from the Caspian Sea to the Lake. It seems to many that this may be the only chance of saving Lake Urmia from drying totally and becoming a massive ecological disaster.

2012 has seen Aletheia exhibit in The National Portrait Gallery as part of The National Photographic Portrait Prize and also the prestigious Summer show at Foto 8 gallery in London. She has recently been named as a winner of The Magenta Foundation Flash Forward Emerging Photographer Award for the UK in 2012. She has previously been invited to exhibit alongside some of Australia’s leading photo-journalists as part of The Head On Portrait Festival in Sydney, Australia. In 2010 she was named a winner of the European Women’s Lobby Photography Award, further to this she was short-listed for the Spirit of Australia Youth Award. In the same year Aletheia’s work on the Uyghur people of the Xinjiang region in China was published for Witness Journal magazine in Italy and also screened at the prestigious Reportage awards evening in Sydney, Australia.

Aletheia is particularly concerned with humanitarian and social issues, particularly issues relating to displacement due to environmental change.

Aletheia currently splits her time between her photographic documentary projects and designing motion graphics for the BBC. She is currently based in London, UK.

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