Missing moment

Farshid Tighehsaz

2011 - 2015


when I was 10, my father was hospitalized due to kidney disease in a hospital in Urmia. At home, in Tabriz city, my mother, my five year old sister and I were waiting for news of father’s recovery. After a few days due to the severity of my father’s illness, my mother took us to Urmia city. At that time the only way of communication between Tabriz city and Urmia was “Urmia lake”. Small passenger ships were means of communication of the lake. In spite of my young age and not having any awareness of the situation, I was full of worries and fears. Stormy weather and the lake being unrest, was making the fear grow in me more and more. Because of the bad weather, the shipping had to be stopped but we arrived on time and we boarded the last ship. We were sitting next to the ship’s window. It was a one hour trip and I was staring out the window the whole time. Feelings of anxiety and fear had given way to peace. A beautiful picture of blue lake and cloudy sky and the rain drops on the window of the ship. A Beautiful moment that I have not forgotten. That image was the most beautiful thing that I saw and felt that day. Unfortunately, it was never repeated. I’ve always been looking for that lost beauty since 2011, the time I started taking pictures of Urmia lake but in all my photos I only witness a salty death. Urmia lake is the world's second largest brine lake which is located in north western Iran and in the region of Azerbaijan and its divided between east Azerbaijan and west Azerbaijan. In 2002, drought began to threaten the Urmia lake and in 2014, the dryness of the lake has been announced to be more than 75%. The reason this drought is not revengeful character of nature but only the nature of human irresponsibility. By well diggings, by buildings dams on rivers that used to pour into the lake, by throwing stones into the depth of lake’s heart, we have narrowed the breathing of the lake. Today, after 18 years, my father is not among us. But Urmia Lake is there.

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  • ”Noah’s Ark”, the biggest passenger ship of Urmia lake. this ship ran aground in the middle and deep-water part of the lake. On 02 September 2013.

  • “Sahand Ship”. I remember these seats. On 01 January 2015.

  • A parked car belonging to a family that have come to see the lake. On 24 August 2011.

  • “Rahmanloo”, which is considered to be one of the largest agricultural lands in west Azerbaijan, since 2012, due to the ground water and wells dryness, the agricultural lands of the area have become barren and over these past few years, farmers have suffered heavy losses.On 12 January 2015.

  • An unfinished restaurant construction project at “Rahmanlu” shore located in west of the lake. In 2006, construction of this restaurant was halted. On 12 January 2015.

  • On September third, 2012 I was going to Urmia city for the matter of photography and on the course of my trip I witnessed a salt storm heading towards the towns around Urmia lake. According to environmentalists, if the lake is not restored, salt storms will threaten the lives of the people living in the surrounding towns and villages.

  • A pleasure craft belonging to one of the lodgings of “Sharafkhaneh” port. The inn owner had this boat prepared for his travelers recreational sightseeing. He keeps his boat in front of his inn. In 2015, he is willing to clean his boat and sell it. On 01 January 2015.

  • An abandoned garden in “Sheikhvali” coastal village located in the northeast of Urmia lake. Sheikhvali used to be one of the heavily traveled touristic villages. by the lake becoming dry, the value of the surrounding lands were reduced and created great financial problems for families. on 01 January 2015.

  • A view of Sharafkhaneh coastal village from within the lake. On 18 March 2011.

  • A view of Urmia lake from above “Gamich Island”, one of the 9 big islands of the lake.On 29 July 2011.

  • Visitors who have come to “Golman Khaneh”shore located in west south of the lake and at a distance of 30 kilometers from the Urmia city to see the lake. They are walking within the lake, a distance of 3 kilometers from the shore.On 29 March 2011.

  • Desolated “Ousuly” family’s inn, in the coastal village of “Sheikhvali” located in the northeast of the lake. “Ousuly” family turned their garden into a touristic inn 20 years ago. In 2004, the inn lost its prosperity and since 2008, it has become a quite desolated place. Ousuly family are willing to selltheir property and move to Shabestar city at a distance of 60 kilometers. On 01 January 2015.

  • “Sharafkhaneh” coastal avenue and a female dog in the middle of the street. In 2013, more than 60% of the residents have left Sharafkhane coastal village.On 01 January 2015.

  • “Kazim Dashi” is one of the 9 islands of Urmia lake. The red color of the water is due to the high accumulation of “Artemia Urmiana” in the water. Artemia is known as the best food supply for shrimp cultivation and see fishes. “Artemia Urmiana” is one of the 7 known artemias in the world. the biggest artemia habitat worldwide is Urmia lake and its artemia due to its special characteristics, has been named as a separate specie. On 15 July 2011.

  • a view of the lake, from the “Islamic island” crossing located in the east of urmia lake and the travelers who have come to see the dried lake. Construction of this crossing in the middle of the lake is one of the most important factors in lake’s ecosystem changes and its dryness. On 02 September 2013.

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