Documentary photographer, Maximilian Mann immortalizes a temporal locale.

Photos and Words by Maximilian Mann


Largely unnoticed by the public world, a major environmental disaster is taking place in Lake Urmia in northwestern Iran. Where ten years ago the waves splashed against the walls of the villages, today you see an almost endless desert. Ships that once brought people from one side of the lake to the other now lie like stranded whales on the shore, decaying. 

Salt winds from the desert are spreading further and further over the residents’ fields, causing the crops to dry up. Robbed of their livelihoods, the inhabitants are fleeing to the surrounding towns, and the villages around the lake are dying out. 

Lake Urmia was once the second largest salt lake in the world, ten times bigger than Lake Constance in Germany. However, within a few years, the surface area of the lake has shrunk by 80 percent. Both climate change and the agriculture sector’s enormously high water consumption rates are responsible for this. If this disaster is not shopped, up to five million residents could be forced to leave the area in the future.