Revered by ethnic Azeris as “the turquoise solitaire of Azerbaijan,” Lake Urmia was second only to the Caspian Sea as the largestsaltwaterlake in the Middle East, a haven for birds and bathers. Since the early 1970s nature and humanity have chipped away at this gem tucked in northwestern Iran, reducing its size by about 80 percent over the past 30 years. The flamingos that feasted on brine shrimp in this UNESCO biosphere reserve are mostly gone. So are the pelicans, the egrets, and the ducks. Even the tourists who flocked to Lake Urmia for therapeutic baths in its warm, hypersaline waters are staying away.
What remain are piers that lead nowhere, the rusting carcasses of ships half-buried in the silt, and white, barren landscapes of exposed salt flats. Winds that whip across the lake bed blow salt dust to farm fields, slowly rendering the soil infertile. Noxious, salt-tinged dust storms inflame the eyes, skin, and lungs of people as far away as Tabriz, a city of more than 1.5 million about 60 miles away. And in recent years Urmia’s alluring turquoise waters were stained blood-red from algae and bacteria that flourish in these waters, which are eight times as salty as the ocean, and then turn color when sunlight penetrates the shallows.
3The Riots That Followed the Assassination of Martin Luther King Jr.
Fifty years ago today, Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech in Memphis, Tennessee, one day before his assassination. King’s Memphis speech focused on the ongoing sanitation workers’ strike, and he reaffirmed his commitment to fight injustice with nonviolent protest, despite government injunctions and threats on his life. King stated he just wanted to carry out God’s will: “And He’s allowed me to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we, as a people, will get to the Promised Land.” As the news of King’s assassination spread, riots broke out in more than 100 cities across the United States, with some raging for several days. In the week following the shooting in Memphis, hundreds of buildings were burned, thousands of arrests were made, and more than 40 people lost their lives.
“Most of the time we are acting, but maybe between gestures there is something,” says Wiktoria Wojciechowska of her images from Ukraine, which she’s showing at Arles this summer. Interview first published by BJP in March 2016
When Polish photographer Wiktoria Wojciechowska first heard about the ongoing Ukrainian conflict she was in China, shooting a project titled Short Flashes, which went on to win the 2015 Leica Oskar Barnack Newcomer Award.
“I was cracking the internet but everything was so blocked I couldn’t get any information,” she says. “I was asking all my friends, then I realised not many people knew about it, even though it’s so close [as Ukraine borders Poland]. I was really inspired to go by fear, by wondering how I would react if the same thing happened in my country.”
5Fuck it – Michele Sibiloni shoots Kampala’s eye-opening nightlife
As Michele Sibiloni’s new series makes the Contemporary African Photography prize shortlist, we revisit our article on his wild book Fuck it, a vivid look at Kampala’s nightlife first published in the August 2015 BJP
Late in 2010, Michele Sibiloni left the sleepy town in the Emilia Romagna region of Italy where he had lived all his life and moved to Kampala in Uganda, a city eight times larger. He had come to cover the lead up to the 2011 general election in the country, which many had predicted might depose its leader, following the lead of the Jasmine revolution in North African countries. But, despite the jitter, all Sibiloni witnessed once the voting had ended was the swearing-in of President Yoweri Museveni for his fourth term in office since he helped overthrow Idi Amin in 1979.
Thirty-four years after his death, Garry Winogrand’s photographs continue to charm, befuddle and amaze viewers. A new book, “The Street Philosophy of Garry Winogrand,” takes 100 photos and pairs each with an essay by Geoff Dyer. The experience was daunting, especially sifting through the stream of images shot in his prolific final years. But it was also quite the revelation. Jordan Teicher spoke with Mr. Dyer about the book, which was published by the University of Texas Press. Their conversation has been edited.
Q: Why did you want to write this book?
A: I was teaching down in Austin and had lunch with David Hamrick of the University of Texas Press, because I’d written something for them before. Being a complete and utter lowlife I went along not just thinking, “Great, it’s a free lunch,” which is often motive enough for me, but I deliberately went along with a completely empty canvas bag in anticipation of all the free books I’d take home.