Must-see Photos: The Dying Aral Sea

Posted on 22.04.2011

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Environmental news and photography: two of my favorites that go great together!

Written and photographed by Radek Skrivanek, this is a series about the death of the Aral Sea, once the world’s 4th largest sea.

An excerpt from the essay:

“Since 2004 I have been documenting the slow death of the Aral Sea, “clearly one of the worst environmental disasters of the world,” in the words of UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. For decades now the Aral Sea — technically a lake, bordered by Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, and once, at 26,000 square miles, the fourth largest on the planet — has been slowly dying; geologists estimate that it is now one-tenth its former size. 

The immediate, physical causes of this ongoing ecological tragedy are clear. Starting in the 1960s, the Soviet Union engineered the large-scale diversion of the two major rivers that fed the sea. Since then the Syr Darya, in the north, and the Amu Darya, in the south, each of which carried water across the Central Asian steppes from as far away as the mountain ranges of Tien-Shan and the Pamirs, have flowed not into the Aral but instead into a canal system that irrigates vast fields of cotton. The cotton generated so much cash that the Soviet government called it “white gold.””

Click HERE to read the full essay and see the slideshow.

This work makes me want to ship the 4×5 over here post-haste. I love everything about the images: the lighting, composition, subject, the negative’s edge.

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Posted in: art