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Mustafah Abdulaziz’s Stirring Images Of Our Most Precious Resource, Water

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In 2011, the United Nations warned that as of 2025, 3.4 billion people were projected to face a scarcity of water. The grave magnitude of this statistic propelled Berlin-based photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz to collate his ongoing project into ‘Water’: a compelling series that highlights our precarious relationship with this vital substance.

The American photographer has been working on this evocative project for years, which has been backed by the United Nations and featured in The New Yorker and The New York Times, among others. We first profiled the series back in 2014, and in the years since, Abdulaziz has traveled across continents and oceans to document more countries, and aims to continue the project until 2027. Abdulaziz’s work includes arresting landscapes and portraits that focus on themes including religious practices involving water, the health consequences of unsafe consumption, and the daily ways we interact with it; often in manners that are abusive to environments where water is in short supply. There are swimmers, illegal fishermen, conservationists, polluters, vacationers, cargo ships, and rubbish in reservoirs; all collectively contributing to the issue of water mistreatment. That a natural resource can be as contentious, political, and so deeply personal to each human being on the planet is a wonder in and of itself, and Abdulaziz’s incredible images should instill a blazing urgency in the viewer that protecting our one life source is more crucial now than ever.

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Overturned ship from Hurricane Michael. Panama City, Florida, USA, 2018.

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Lake Mead, Hoover Dam. Nevada, USA, 2015.

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Grey Bush dumpsite, source of stagnate water and malaria. Freetown, Sierra Leone, 2012.

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Funeral pyre of Ram Bhagat. Allahabad, India, 2013.

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Sunday service, St. John Apostolic Church of the Whole World. Cape Town, South Africa, 2018.

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Macassar Beach Pavillon on False Bay: An abandoned water park due to mismanagement is now reclaimed by dunes. Cape Town, South Africa, 2018.

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Seaweed and shrimp trawlers. Honghu, China, 2015.

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Classic Club Golf Course, Palm Desert, California, USA, 2015.

Classic Club Golf Course, Palm Desert, California, USA, 2015.

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Picnic on island. Chongqing, China, 2015.

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Men bathe underneath the construction of a new bridge over the Ganges tributary. Bihar Province, India, 2013.

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Girls from the K. Gandhi School in Farrukhabad arrive at the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna rivers in the holy city of Allahabad, India. 2013.

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Wattamolla. Australia, 2017.

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Withering tree from drought. Pakistan, 2013.

Agriculture fields near San Joaquin River near Antioch, California, USA, 2015.

Agriculture fields near San Joaquin River near Antioch, California, USA, 2015.

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Sand ships. Dongting Lake. Hunan Province, China, 2015.

Black plastic shade balls. Ivanhoe Reservoir, Los Angeles, California, 2015.

Black plastic shade balls. Ivanhoe Reservoir, Los Angeles, California, 2015.

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An Indian Army truck lays stuck in the mud alongside the Ganges River in Allahabad, India. The trucks were tasked with hauling away massive pontoons used to create temporary bridges across the Ganges and Yamuna rivers during the Kumbh Mela religious gathering in March 2013.

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Dry Ganges river bed. Kanpur, India, 2014.

All images © Mustafah Abdulaziz