Message from the Aral – Documentary Photography by Iulia Galushina

Scientist from Kazakhstan Boris Smerdov is 77 years old. Half a lifetime he has spent “deeply worried about” the Aral Sea. On retirement, the scientist has been descrambling the secret signs he discovered at the bottom of the Aral Sea.
Maps of the Aral Sea. Before the Aral expedition, Boris Afanasievich bought very detailed maps published in 1987 and 1964. The scale of the first map is 1: 500,000 in one centimeter 5 kilometers, of the second one, 1: 1,000,000, in one centimeter 10 kilometers. The scientist applied the location of Aral signs and channels from the Small Sea to Great Sea. He still cherishes these maps.

Scientist from Kazakhstan Boris Smerdov is 77 years old. Half a lifetime he has spent “deeply worried about” the Aral Sea. On retirement, the scientist has been descrambling the secret signs he discovered at the bottom of the Aral Sea.

The border between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan runs along the Aral Sea. The Aral Sea was one of the largest lakes on the planet, but in 1961 the water level in the Aral Sea began irresistibly falling, catastrophically fast. In the Uzbek port of Muynak, for one of the nights of shallowing, the water level lowered by two hundred meters. In the morning the people ran after the sea and cried. A fishing boat, which had landed on the beach for the night, was not able to set sailing in the morning. Today the seabed has turned into a desert. On its bare bottom Boris Smerdov discovered mysterious signs. The scientist is sure – this is the message of extraterrestrial civilization to the inhabitants of the Earth.

– I’ve been studying the secret symbols of the Aral Sea for a quarter of a century. My feeling of admiration is not passing off. For me, the Aral signs do not lose their attractiveness, beauty, complexity and mystery. Strange as it may sound, but I hold a cordial affection for them as for the creatures, very close and rich in their essence.

The cupboards, beneath the bed, the balcony of the one-room apartment of the scientist are full of hundreds of folders, drawings, letters, diagrams, photographs, and pictures. In the refrigerator, under carrots and potatoes there are samples of soils from the mysterious furrows of the Aral Sea. Boris Smerdov is sure that these furrows are of nonearthy origin. “What an amazing fact! My wealth! I have been sitting with this wealth for more than 25 years, not knowing what to do with it. Making analysis of the samples is too expensive for me”.

In 1987, the Aral Sea was divided into the Great and Small Seas – the Southern and Northern Aral, forming a narrow channel between them.In an effort to save the water, at least in the Small Sea, in 1992, on the isthmus between the North and South Aral, a dam was built. It was built by local forces and at their own cost and expense from reels of cane, stones, sand and clay using technologies of the Stone Age. The sand dam was washed away.   Three times a dam between the Small and Great Seas was erected by “rule of thumb”, and three times was washed away.In 1999 a mighty stream washed the dam between the Great and Small Seas away ones again. Water washed away not only the dam but also the lower part of the Aral signs. During the Kokaral dam construction in the Small Sea heavy trucks erased the remaining part of the signs. The secret signs have gone before they had a chance of being widely interested in and studied. Information about the Aral signs is recorded on the aerial photos which Boris Smerdov stores carefully.

Slides of the 1910-2010’s, showing the level of seasonal and perennial fluctuations of the Aral Sea. In 1963, Boris Smerdov graduated from Tomsk State University, specializing in Land Hydrology. He was doing postgraduate studies in Hydrology at Krasnodar Agricultural Institute. In 1980 he joined Kazakh   Research Hydrometeorological Institute in Alma-Ata. The young scientist monitored the Aral Sea level in different parts of it. He compiled graphs, studying the sea regime using them, and investigating its trends. – I saw the Aral Sea level steadily falling since 1961. But there was no any serious concern about it. I thought it was one of the temporary fluctuations. The sea water level was changing regularly. Furthermore, the Aral sea level had shallowed before, moreover, it was a dry land. The Aral Sea emerged about 10,000 years ago, when the Amu Darya River, which until then had run into the Caspian Sea, turned north and began filling with water a tectonic depression – a large southern part of the future Aral Sea. Before, only the Syr Darya flowed into this depression, feeding a relatively small pond. According to some scientists, the Amu Darya turned several times toward the Caspian Sea, according to others, the river turned away from the Aral only once. And at that time, the Aral Sea began shallowing. In 2001, on the dry bottom of the Aral, the inhabitants of the village of Karateren, and then archaeologists, discovered an ancient settlement and a large mausoleum. Then people joked that the Kazakhs had found the Aral Atlantis. The artifacts confirmed that there existed a town on the bottom of the Aral Sea: its townsfolk built houses, erected mausoleums, and engaged in agriculture. The sea was a dry land at that time, but the water came back. About 150 years ago, “water lavishly flooded the land” more than ever. The Aral made the top four lakes on the planet. Our fathers and grandfathers remembered the Aral as blue and full of fish.

Photo from the Boris Smerdov’s archive. Two “Rockets” under the water. The length of each is 600 m.

Photo from the Boris Smerdov’s archive. «Car entry and a snake», aerial photo 1990. -This shot I called «Car entry and a snake». It is the most exciting for me. Width of wheel track of so called “car” which entered by the steep slope is 250 meters, while “wheel” width is 50 meters. From the left top corner of the picture a “snake” is going down and her head almost touches the wheel track. Using 100-200 times magnification “scales” of the “snake” are clearly seen. The “scales” look like cells and require further investigation. No earth technique is able to draw such huge and smooth furrows on the seabed. I calculated that the drawing of these Aral signs will require a continuous operation of 90,000 twenty-ton vehicles for 25 years. – I consulted and shared my findings with geologists, geophysicists, geographers, astronomers, ufologists, mathematicians, designers, including in the field of underwater military technology – with anyone who could show interest in the Aral signs. All scientists shrugged shoulders and took me for an eccentric. I had to continue the study alone, relying only on wife’s and children’s support.

Boris Smerdov unpacks a film from year 1990 expedition. Aral is everywhere in one-room apartment of the scientist. Folders with drawings and formulas, letters, maps, tens of films – all what have collected for 25 years of communication with Aral. Scientist carefully store every sheet of paper, every record.

Boris Smerdov is looking at film from year 1989 expedition.

Helicopter MI 8. In 1989 году five employees of the Kazakh Scientific and Research Hydrometeorological Institute, flew to the Aral Sea for sand samples.

A stone sample from the southern part of the Kokaral Peninsula. Boris Smerdov have been studying Aral for a quarter of century. He visited it’s shores many times. The scientist returns from the sea laden with stones – he got a full backpack. Smerdov was especially impressed by this stone with innumerable inclusions of shells.

Aluminum sample boxes for soil samples. Inside – soil samples from the Aral signs. The sample boxes are numbered, sealed with adhesive tape. Information about the samples is written in the scientist’s notebook. – In 1996, our guide Margulan Zheksembiev found two furrows on the eastern dried sea coast – two Aral Traces, – says Boris Afanasyevich. – Margulan is a resident of aul Karateren, an observer of a hydrological post on the Syr Darya River, one of the best connoisseurs of his land, a guide to several foreign expeditions in the Aral Sea region, a longtime friend of mine and a participant in the work in the lower reaches of the Syr Darya. He was in the know about the Aral signs and was very interested in their search and study. I made a cross-section of a furrow and brought samples of soil and algae to Almaty. For 20 years the land from the Aral Sea was stored in a refrigerator, tightly packed in sample bottles. I never opened them. So I do not know in what condition they are, especially the algae. I do not open them, I’m afraid to break something important. I did not send them to the laboratory, because I did not have enough money.

Boris Smerdov is looking into binocular which shows azimuth. The scientist from Almaty was offered to write a book about the Aral signs. The French Data Bank of Abnormal Phenomena got interested in the strange lines on the Aral bottom. The French offered to send their employee to conduct joint research, and Boris Smerdov was required to cover the cost of his stay in Kazakhstan and travel to the Aral Sea. An ordinary scientist could not afford it because of high costs. – Traces of the Aral Sea do not let me go. The Aral furrows were drawn under a 15-m water column at a time when the sea was deep. Who covered the seabed with lines and why? I have more questions than answers.

The scheme of Boris Smerdov’s life. The scientist drew 30 variants of the schemes of his life, each time remembering and adding new events.
– “Before meeting the Aral signs, I was an atheist, and when I was looking into the secret of the Aral Sea, I became a fatalist”, the scientist admits. “I’m sure everything in life is not incidental”. Only by a lucky chance the Aral signs were covered by aerial survey. By chance, when choosing a profession, I entered hydrology faculty, although all my life I am in awe of radio engineering and optics. All events in life are naturally determined. To make sure of this, I made a scheme of my life. Using different colors and forms I marked transitional moments, studies, research work, intentions, deadly dangerous moments … This is the moment when my father took away my grenade; that, when the lightning struck me; and these are Krasnoyarsk poles where I was about to fall … I drew more than 30 variants of my life schemes, every time remembering and adding new events. I included less than 100 elements in the first scheme, in the last one, more than 400. The scheme of my life is similar to the scheme of a complex electronic device with several functional blocks. And at its output there are events related to the discovery and decoding of the Aral signs.

More Stories

Idomeni by Dimitris Rapakousis

Idomeni by Dimitris Rapakousis

The old name of Idomeni was Sehovo. It is located on the border with Macedonia and it is the last village of the "Greek railway tracks.
Anatomy of a Photograph by Gianluca Micheletti

Anatomy of a Photograph by Gianluca Micheletti

The image consists of two photos mounted in post-production. I used a Sony A7 camera for both, with a Nikon 70-300mm lens for monkey photography and a Tamron 90mm Macro for the capsule photo.
Out of control by Alexander Lubomirskiy

Out of control by Alexander Lubomirskiy

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. For a long time, I didn’t want to put up with this diagnosis. I took it as a cruel joke. "Do all people feel the same as me? All people change their mood.
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2023/01/bannerpr.jpg

We invite you to participate in the first edition of the Portrait Photography Awards. Our call is open to any artistic interpretation of portrait photography.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/BAnImage.jpg

ImageRights provides intelligent image search and copyright enforcement services to photo agencies and professional photographers worldwide.

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/09/mono2022.jpg

The best 100 images along with the winning images published in the yearly book “Monochromatic – Best Photographers of 2022”

https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/12/banner24.jpg

Call For Entries #24 | After 23 editions and more than 100 published photographers, our print edition has proven to be a simply effective promotional channel.

Marco Tenaglia : Black & white fashion portraiture

Marco Tenaglia : Black & white fashion portraiture

His bold and intriguing photographic vision is the result of a mixture of both contemporary and classic styles, inspired by masters like Helmut Newton.
Agathae by Vito Finocchiaro

Agathae by Vito Finocchiaro

From 3 to 5 February Catania honors Agata. Three days of cult, devotion, folklore and traditions that are not found anywhere else in the world. St Agatha's day, the most important religious festival in the city.
Upper East Side Story by Alain Schroeder

Upper East Side Story by Alain Schroeder

White glove-buildings, designer boutiques, Museum Mile and ladies who lunch are some of the images associated with Manhattan’s Upper East Side (UES).
Shiny Ghost by Rachel Cox

Shiny Ghost by Rachel Cox

Rachel Cox lives and works in Lansing, Michigan, USA. Prints from Cox’s series have been presented at The Atlanta Contemporary Art Center, Houston Center for Photography, David Weinberg Gallery in Chicago, and the Philadelphia Photo Art Center.
Landscapes by Mam´At

Landscapes by Mam´At

I am a self-learned photographer from a very small village in Cantal, France. I began photography four years ago when I was 44. I left my job and came to the mountain of the « massif Central ».
Net fishing in Rodrigues island by Pascal Lagesse

Net fishing in Rodrigues island by Pascal Lagesse

Every year, on the 1st of March in Rodrigues island in the Indian Ocean, the net fishing season in launched. Groups of fishermen and women join forces and set their nets in the wide lagoon to catch fish.
Photography Portraits by Barbara Oizmud

Photography Portraits by Barbara Oizmud

Barbara Oizmud was born in Pescara in 1977. From 2003 to 2006 she worked as a cartoonist collaborating on projects with RAI, a major Italian TV station.
A place and it’s history; Selma by Paul Elledge

A place and it’s history; Selma by Paul Elledge

I have always reflected on my history to inform and influence my projects. An on-going approach in my personal projects is to visit locations that have had influential historical events occur.
Holarchies – architectural abstractions from EXPO Milano by photographer Pygmalion Karatzas 

Holarchies – architectural abstractions from EXPO Milano by photographer Pygmalion Karatzas 

Design is the first signal of human intention. Architectural design is a prime example of tangible and intangible connections between matter and spirit. The title of the series is a reference to Arthur Koestler’s seminal book and his concept of holons
Liminality by Pygmalion Karatzas

Liminality by Pygmalion Karatzas

‘Liminality’ series was taken during the ‘Integral Lens’ 5-month photographic journey in United States sponsored by the Fulbright Artist Scholarship for a multi-perspectival study of architectural photography. 
Travel Photography; Kashgar, China story by Florian Ritter

Travel Photography; Kashgar, China story by Florian Ritter

I have travelled through many place in China, from far east to the north but have mostly found half developed cities, with not much culture left. I have this romanised phantasy about China
Image of Structure by Joshua Sariñana

Image of Structure by Joshua Sariñana

The Stata Center, designed by Frank Gehry, at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, is seemingly alive. Because of the reflective and angular elements of this structure are sharp
Mister X by Dmitriy Ryabov

Mister X by Dmitriy Ryabov

Mister X" project is a story of a mysterious character, a composite character of many unrecognized talents, living in free play to one's imagination. The project’s idea appeared in the summer of 2018 and was developed in a series of photos about the different life character situations. The series will be continued in the autumn of 2019.
Suspended by Natalie Barbosa

Suspended by Natalie Barbosa

Ballet from the beginning, was and often still is, concentrated on making the dancer look polished, perfect, in character, focused on the end performance, or the final outstretched movement.
Landscapes of Japan by Jun Pagalilauan

Landscapes of Japan by Jun Pagalilauan

Jun Pagalilauan is Filipino  Architect based in Singapore. His intrinsic passion in fine arts depicts the fiber of his works through his lens. 
Inner Beauty by Julien De Wilde

Inner Beauty by Julien De Wilde

Beauty is a relative concept that means something different to all of us. From my point of view, beauty means grace, modesty, sincerity and spirituality. Nothing to do with our appearance. Beauty does not need anything.

Featured Stories

Everyday life; Our summer stories by Kata Sedlak

Everyday life; Our summer stories by Kata Sedlak

The idea behind the photo series "Our summer stories" came to existence after my three-year break - the maternity leave.
Edelstein’s world by Denis Kaminev

Edelstein’s world by Denis Kaminev

The Church of Resurrection in Karabanovo village (Kostroma oblast), built in 1833, experienced both physical and spiritual destruction in Soviet times, when it was turned into a machinery service station and a fertilizer depot, and was fully re-established under the guidance of a priest by the name of George Edelstein.
UFO: Un-identified by Annick Donkers

UFO: Un-identified by Annick Donkers

The actual idea for the series started after visiting the International UFO Congress in Phoenix. I was impressed by the multitude of people attracted to this event and the secrecy surrounding the theme.
Painting with light by Renee Robyn

Painting with light by Renee Robyn

My images come from a variety of places of inspiration. Some of them are from meeting with a client, seeing their energy and how fascinating they are.
Anthracite by Nick Gandano

Anthracite by Nick Gandano

Anthracite is the most metamorphic mineral coal and has the highest carbon content. Its colour ranges from black to metallic grey
Bangladesh; Old streets old stories by Saud A Faisal

Bangladesh; Old streets old stories by Saud A Faisal

Dhaka the capital of Bangladesh and the main city of the country has a rich political and social heritage of over 400 years.This mega city has a old part which is the witness of change of time which changed the daily life of the people but the basic story of people remain the same.
Calcio Storico Fiorentino by Marco Ponzianelli

Calcio Storico Fiorentino by Marco Ponzianelli

The Historical Football was born in Florence in the 16th century and it is a combination of soccer, rugby and wrestling world that nowadays is played in historical costumes.
New York City; Street Scenes by Paul Kessel

New York City; Street Scenes by Paul Kessel

New York City is considered as one of the best places to practice street photography. It has a history of being the breeding grounds of many of the finest street photographers over the years.
Geometric lines, shapes, patterns and symmetry; Cityscape photography of Jon Deboer

Geometric lines, shapes, patterns and symmetry; Cityscape photography of Jon Deboer

I am a photographer and graphic designer based in Detroit, MI. I moved to the Metro Detroit area in 2006 to attend Lawrence Technological University, and graduated in 2010 with a BFA in Graphic Design
Ethiopia – Change in the Valley by Matilda Temperley

Ethiopia – Change in the Valley by Matilda Temperley

The fate of the Omo Valley was sealed in 2006 when, upstream of the valley’s arterial Omo river, the Ethiopian government began constructing the ‘Pride of Ethiopia’
The Children of San Quintin by Griselda San Martin

The Children of San Quintin by Griselda San Martin

Cecilia Sanchez has two children and is pregnant with her third. When asked how far along she is, she simply tilts her head and shrugs. She doesn’t know because she hasn’t been able to see a doctor yet.
Fetish Ballad by MagLau

Fetish Ballad by MagLau

MagLau has just released his new book Fetish Ballad with German publisher Verlag Kettler. It is the result of a three years' road trip into the underground world of Tokyo, Amsterdam, Paris, Brussels and Berlin.
Under the sign of the rat; Roger the Rat by Roger Ballen

Under the sign of the rat; Roger the Rat by Roger Ballen

Surreal, refined, disturbing: Roger Ballen has made a name for himself with his special eye for what is usually considered minor or outside, yet is nevertheless profound and touching.
Portraits with Wet Plate Collodion by Paul Alsop & Luke White

Portraits with Wet Plate Collodion by Paul Alsop & Luke White

Wet Plate Collodion is a historic photographic process that was pioneered and used in the In the mid to late 1800's by an English photographer called Frederick Scott Archer.
Street Stories by Castro Frank

Street Stories by Castro Frank

Contemporary Street Photographer, Castro Frank was born on August 28th, 1983. This Los Angeles native’s style of photography fuses together a journalistic approach with an artistic eye to create imagery.
The Land Where the Roots Grow Deep by Rebecca Moseman

The Land Where the Roots Grow Deep by Rebecca Moseman

This series of photographs is part of an ongoing project about the African American people living in the deep south.

Trending Stories

Dragons and Horses by Liam Lynch

Dragons and Horses by Liam Lynch

Imagine setting up a studio under the surface of the sea. To capture this body of work Lynch composed each image under water then with the help of an assistant diver holding a backdrop and specialised underwater lighting
Dasha Matrosova – Fashion Photography

Dasha Matrosova – Fashion Photography

I am young fashion photographer from Belarus. I like to work in different styles, but most of all I shoot fashion and fine art . I work with glossy magazines and always participate in various projects. Every day I get new ideas for the photo shoot, I'm not tired to invent and create!
Moonlight by Thomas H P Jerusalem

Moonlight by Thomas H P Jerusalem

The moonlight will always lead you the way and keep you safe, my children. I want you to never forget that. And as you already know, the stars look down on the children in the world.
Photo-impressionism; Trees by Ursula Abresch

Photo-impressionism; Trees by Ursula Abresch

My photography style of photo-impressionism allows for the abstraction of subjects and makes it possible to express feelings more fully without having to say a word. It allows me to put down thoughts, dreams, and fleeting moments in time with my pictures.
Parkinson’s disease; Semaphore by Torrance York

Parkinson’s disease; Semaphore by Torrance York

After discovering that she had Parkinson’s disease, Torrance York focused her camera on the challenge to integrate this life-altering information into her sense of self. In Semaphore York’s photographs speak metaphorically about her shift in perspective post-diagnosis.
Lifeforms : Women by Kobal Mitja

Lifeforms : Women by Kobal Mitja

Mitja Kobal is a freelance photographer from Ljubljana, Slovenia, now based in Vienna, Austria. Born '81, studied Japanese and Philosophy, djing locally and globally for over 10 years
Chatting with Adrián Domínguez

Chatting with Adrián Domínguez

I met Photography when teenager which it was not so well-known and accessible technique, I think that the photographers of that time are marked by a latent introspection and solitary labor ... as well, I bought an enlarger to work in my bathroom.
Pamela Aminou ; Variations – Simplicity vs Intricacies

Pamela Aminou ; Variations – Simplicity vs Intricacies

Pamela Aminou is a self taught artist based in London that chooses photography as a way to express herself. Through her work, she’s able to transcribe what she feels at a specific time, to better understand her emotions and what surrounds and most importantly to interpret the world that she lives in. 
My Americana by Joseph Patronite

My Americana by Joseph Patronite

“My Americana” is a long-term photography essay. Its goal: to create a contemporary view of the people, places or happenings which depict The United States of America.
Guatemala; Until the corn Grows Back by Lys Arango

Guatemala; Until the corn Grows Back by Lys Arango

Until the corn Grows Back; Lys Arango’s project was selected and published in our print edition 16. Criminal violence in Central America was something that happened very far away and that explained, according to the media, the gigantic caravans of migrants that from 2017 began to travel thousands of kilometres to reach the United States
Leica Portrait : Joel Meyerowitz

Leica Portrait : Joel Meyerowitz

An award-winning street photographer who has been creating memorable images in the great photojournalistic tradition since 1962, Joel Meyerowitz pioneered the use of color in this slice of life genre
Matilde Pernille ; Conceptual Photography

Matilde Pernille ; Conceptual Photography

This photo series is a collection of old and new pictures, taken between 2014 and 2017. The later years I have been drawn to a darker mood in my working, and it's not so clean either, like my earlier photography.

Other Stories

stay in touch
Join our mailing list and we'll keep you up to date with all the latest stories, opportunities, calls and more.
We use Sendinblue as our marketing platform. By Clicking below to submit this form, you acknowledge that the information you provided will be transferred to Sendinblue for processing in accordance with their terms of use
We’d love to
Thank you for subscribing!
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted.
- Between 10/30 images of your best images, in case your project contains a greater number of images which are part of the same indivisible body of work will also be accepted. You must send the images in jpg format to 1200px and 72dpi and quality 9. (No borders or watermarks)
- A short biography along with your photograph. (It must be written in the third person)
- Title and full text of the project with a minimum length of 300 words. (Texts with lesser number of words will not be accepted)
This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Contact
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.
Submission
Dodho Magazine accepts submissions from emerging and professional photographers from around the world.
Their projects can be published among the best photographers and be viewed by the best professionals in the industry and thousands of photography enthusiasts. Dodho magazine reserves the right to accept or reject any submitted project. Due to the large number of presentations received daily and the need to treat them with the greatest respect and the time necessary for a correct interpretation our average response time is around 5/10 business days in the case of being accepted. This is the information you need to start preparing your project for its presentation.
To send it, you must compress the folder in .ZIP format and use our Wetransfer channel specially dedicated to the reception of works. Links or projects in PDF format will not be accepted. All presentations are carefully reviewed based on their content and final quality of the project or portfolio. If your work is selected for publication in the online version, it will be communicated to you via email and subsequently it will be published.
Get in Touch
How can we help? Got an idea or something you'd like share? Please use the adjacent form, or contact contact@dodho.com
Thank You. We will contact you as soon as possible.