One of the biggest challenges of our time is to preserve the ecosystem of our planet. One that has been altered by numerous effects that our species has had on it. Yet we continue to destroy it and unfortunately there are very few evidences of positive actions which may lead to stopping or minimising our burden on the planet.
In Shahre Bijar, a small town near Rasht (Gilan, Iran), a dam was built on the Shahre Bijar river. It’s now more than two years since the dam has been completely filled with water. The lake created by the dam has drowned a vast valley. A valley consisting of several villages whose inhabitants were mostly shepherds and farmers. At the time the dam was under construction, people were asked to leave their houses and move to nearby towns and they would receive a compensation for what they had to leave. Some people left and due to several reasons few ones didn’t or couldn’t leave for a new place.
Regardless of the reasons, basically hundreds of villagers have been forced to move from their homeland and go to towns or cities. Also hectares of jungles were cleared out, thousands of trees were cut and acres of farms were sunk under the dam’s lake. All these happened in spite of the government’s efforts to reverse the trend of immigration from villages to cities and also their tries to save the jungle.
As stated by the authorities, the dam provides drinking water for a dozen of cities and towns, water for farming and 6.3MW of hydroelectric power. International researches suggest that smaller dams might provide as much benefit while having less negative effect on the ecosystem and also in a more cost effective way.
In this series of images I have tried to take the viewer to a more personal level and to do that I have addressed the lives of the villagers who still live there. Past, present and future all exist there at the same time and my goal has been to visualise it through my pictures. This dam is a sample of hundreds and thousands of dams which affect the rhythm of life on our planet in every direction.