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

Spatial Relations by Shannon Randol

Spatial Relations by Shannon Randol

How the singular subject, viewer in the case of photography, is located in relation to other objects is referred to as spatial relation. Often happening subconsciously, ways in which objects respond to each other impacts the use(s) of a particular space.
A Himalayan Journey By Abhijit Bose

A Himalayan Journey By Abhijit Bose

The beauty of The Himalayan Region is its color and mood. I explored almost every season and made trips towards Terrain Region. It was a treat to my senses when I used to watch changes in color of a region just fifteen minutes away from another place getting washed in torrential rain. I realized nature as the biggest chameleon.
Underwater by Mike Potts

Underwater by Mike Potts

I see the water as a metaphor for a dream medium and I try to meet my subjects on that boundary and hope that we are able to take the viewer from tranquil peace to a burst of creation and back again. Underwater project was selected and published in our print edition 22.

Nude Photography Awards

We invite you to participate in the first edition
of the Nude Photography Awards. We are looking
for the best nude picture for this year, 2022.

Our call is open to any artistic interpretation of nude photography.

DEADLINE | SATURDAY, DECEMBER 31, 2022

PHOTO BY © OLIVIER VALSECCHI
A Space Odyssey-style evolution by Sonia Payes

A Space Odyssey-style evolution by Sonia Payes

A Space Odyssey-style evolution, is Alchemy (2021), a collection of 14 vibrant chromogenic prints. Each one reiterates the same basic composition and design, with Ilana’s avatar recurring indomitably across two orderly rows. 
Turin; You Do Not See by Riccardo Surace

Turin; You Do Not See by Riccardo Surace

The project titled What You Do Not See, Unordinary tells the story of the City of Turin, my city, seen through the eyes of passersby. All photographs have been captured with a long exposure technique; in other words, I mixed then history of the city with my own history, my life experience. In fact, after five years spent fighting a disease, my artistic purpose is primarily that of representing the all too familiar feeling when, as a young man wandering through the city, one feels invisible, and yet still he is thoroughly involved in its daily frenzy.
Fragments by Anne-Marie Giroux.

Fragments by Anne-Marie Giroux.

Fragments is a project within a project. Since 2020, I have been working on an installation project entitled Drifts Drifting Phase II which will be presented at Espace Produit Rien in Montréal in April 2023. The installation proposes a questioning of human and artistic drift, theme that I have been exploring since 2014. Adopting a critical and mocking approach on the relevance of the very essence of the art object, I also question the relevance of being an artist, and particularly, the relevance of being a woman artist.

Featured Stories

Wiebke Haas ; Fine art equine

Wiebke Haas ; Fine art equine

Wiebke Haas is a dedicated award-winning equine and animal photographer from Germany. Ever since she was a little girl she dreamt of hoof-beats and flying through the fields on a back of a horse.
Scotland & The Environment by Gavin Smart

Scotland & The Environment by Gavin Smart

Scotland and the Environment is a conceptual series touching on a variety of contemporary issues facing Scotland today, such as plastic pollution, marine conservation, intensive agriculture and woodland protection.
Paul Eis ; The architecture photographer

Paul Eis ; The architecture photographer

In Paul Eis' Instagram project, he gathers images of buildings from mainly Berlin, Hamburg and some other cities, which are cut of their original context and reworked with bright colors.
Jim Mortram

Jim Mortram

Jim Mortram is the pictorial architect behind Small Town Inertia; revealing portraits of people and their stories within a three mile radius of his home. This short film documentary introduces one of photography's more altruistic photographers
You will love again by Patricia Ackerman

You will love again by Patricia Ackerman

The desire, the love, the violence, the look, the beauty. …everything is to build. You must build the language that you will inhabit and have to find the ancestors who make you more free.
India; Pilgrims and faith by Olivier Borson

India; Pilgrims and faith by Olivier Borson

My interest for photography dates from my adolescence with my passion for astrophotography. I expanded my field of view and I began to photograph my surroundings.
https://www.dodho.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/10/nude-banner.jpg

We invite you to participate in the first edition of the Nude Photography Awards. Our call is open to any artistic interpretation of nude 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/2022/10/banner23.jpg

Call For Entries #23 | After 22 editions and more than 100 published photographers, our print edition has proven to be a simply effective promotional channel.

Irish Travellers by Bob Newman

Irish Travellers by Bob Newman

Irish Travellers refer to themselves as Pavees or Minkiers, having lived on the margins of society for many hundreds of years. They number about 40,000 in the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland.
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.
Off-Season Santas by Mary Beth Koeth

Off-Season Santas by Mary Beth Koeth

An ongoing portrait series of off-season Santas. Santa Roy is a retired police officer who, in 1984, was named one of the Top Ten Law Enforcement Officers in the State of Florida.
Vegetable Peddler by Yoshitaka Masuda

Vegetable Peddler by Yoshitaka Masuda

In Japan, baby boomers continue to grow older, and the population 75 years or older has grown to be 13.3% of the total population. 6.1% of these women and 2.7% of these men cannot go out shopping or ask a relative living elsewhere to assist them.
Havana by David Saxe

Havana by David Saxe

Havana is a city suspended in time, where life slowly drifts to a steady salsa beat. People are civil and friendly—they will argue baseball in the park, walk along the Malecon, make love, marry, and raise families
Ape dumma – Open your eyes by Czuko Williams

Ape dumma – Open your eyes by Czuko Williams

There is an strong untold story among the ancient tribes who lives in Ethiopia. The story of the loss of traditional way of life due the process of deculturation, transculturation, and mainly because of progress.

Trending Stories

Pyromaniac by Maria Kokunova

Pyromaniac by Maria Kokunova

The year of 2012 - a wave of fires swept through Ulyanovka, a small village in Leningrad oblast, Russia. The peak was in the first two years. According to official data in the period from 2012 to 2013, there occurred 90 fires, 32 of which were caused by arson.
Infrared photograph;  Hidden Light by Maren Klemp

Infrared photograph; Hidden Light by Maren Klemp

The first time I saw an infrared photograph, it blew my mind. It felt like I was given access to a secret and mysterious world. Infrared cameras captures light that the human eye can’t detect, and gives us the opportunity to explore a hidden world where everything looks different.  
New York; Stranger Than Fiction by Sam Golanski

New York; Stranger Than Fiction by Sam Golanski

New York is vibrant, crowdy and the most of all unpredictable. I spent six weeks last year on the streets of NYC trying to define life and people of this great place.
Urban photography; Synchronicity by Colin Cheong

Urban photography; Synchronicity by Colin Cheong

Colin has been involved in all facets of the creative industries for all of this professional career. This has ranged from production management to graphic desing, theatre performances to strategic consultancy.
Untold Stories by Raluca Caragea

Untold Stories by Raluca Caragea

As a psychologist I was always amazed of how people perceive and integrate their experiences. I began as everyone does, with landscapes and still life shots.
Children of Buchenwald by Tadas Kazakevicius

Children of Buchenwald by Tadas Kazakevicius

Life of people during the middle of the twentieth century was marked with very bold scars. A lot of them were in contact with cruelness, constraints, pain and huge hardship.
Abandoned places; Impermanence by Dawn Heumann

Abandoned places; Impermanence by Dawn Heumann

These photographs depicting abandonment expose the vulnerability of our existence by facing decay and loss. Metaphorically speaking the places in this series symbolize what we fear most:
The shadows say a lot by Kaushik Dolui

The shadows say a lot by Kaushik Dolui

This collection consists of images that are straight photography, all works exist in a space between the real and imagined.
Forgotten by Maria Svarbova

Forgotten by Maria Svarbova

The Forgotten series was established this year. Presents people who became forgotten under the layers. Each photo represents other place and layer.

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.