Didier Bizet’s ‘Aral Dreams’

In ‘Aral Dreams‘, photographer Didier Bizet captures the life of Tastubek, a village once altered forever by the politics of Soviet Union.

Tastubek is a tiny village situated 90 km from Aralsk, a former port of the Aral Sea, Kazakhstan. Once the world’s fourth largest lake, Aral Sea dried up almost entirely over 40 years due to Stalin’s “Great Plan for the Transformation of Nature”. The plan was conceived to divert the water from two rivers which fed into the Aral Sea. This resulted in devastation of the land, including extinction of 20 fish species and local economy left ruined. However, in 2005, Kazakh government began the attempt to reverse this catastrophe along with the World Bank. Within few years, water levels began to rise, fauna slowly returned, fishermen began to work once more. In his documentary project, Bizet follows Akerke and her husband Nurzhan, a family of fishermen who moved few years ago to Tastubek. Slowly, with the sea’s recovery, local people start to feel hopeful for the future and the old worries begin to fade away.

Portrait of a fishermen working.Portrait de pêcheurs travaillant.
A group of Kazakh fishermen on a boat.Un groupe de pêcheurs Kazakh sur un bateau.
A close up of a fisherman fishing.Un gros plan d'un pêcheur en train de pêcher.
Portrait of a fisherman working.Portrait d'un pêcheur travaillant.
A worker in a fish factory.Un ouvrier dans une usine de poissons.
A man in a cafe in Aralsk.Un homme dans un café à Aralsk
Portrait of Akerke, a Kazakh woman.
Swamp around Aralsk.
Boats stranded in Aral Sea.Bateaux échoués en mer d'Aral.
Akerke milking a camel.Akerk pendant la traite du midi.
The main road in Aralsk.
An old car abandonned on the Aral sea.Une vieille voiture abandonnée au bord de la mer d'Aral.

All images © Didier Bizet

x