Reza Deghati War and Peace
Once upon a time, there was a man sitting on the branch of a tree intently sawing at the point closest to the trunk. An old sage who happened to be observing the scene, quickly warned the man of the imminent danger of falling.
Full of arrogance, the man replied, I know this tree and all its many branches, and I can assure you that there is absolutely no danger. Not many seconds later the branch broke, and the man fell to the ground, badly hurt in the way the old sage had predicted. I remember those childhood stories that influenced my philosophy of life and my relationship to Nature, which is the guarantor of our modern lives. I also think back to the words of the celebrated 9th century doctor, Avicenna, who spoke of the great importance of maintaining the perfect balance between the elements: water, wind, earth and fire. But throughout the centuries, first due to ignorance then thoughtlessness, mankind has exploited to depletion natural resources for his own means.
In the name of technology and comfort, and because of an enormous waste, the universal balance is slowly fracturing. Seen from space, the continents look like lonely, shipwrecked boats amidst the vast expanse of ocean. All seems harmonious, but the more and more sick soil agonizes along with more and more polluted water. The loss of harmony of this natural balance and the contamination of water as the source of life, poses a real threat to the continued survival of mankind on a planet that we continue to pillage. Our relatively new awareness still has the power to halt the self-destruction of our environment and, on a global level, of our entire world. Art and photography, expressions of a universal language, are able to raise awareness about the world that surrounds us. This is what I try to do through my images – highlighting the interdependence between humanity and his environment, in particular water. In order to avoid the descent of our planet and universe into a self-administered chaos, it is our duty to inform others with the knowledge of the smallest individual behaviours which may save the four elements of the cosmos – water, wind, earth, and fire – to put it simply, life itself. Thus, like the wise saying, something as small as the flutter of a butterfly’s wing can ultimately cause a typhoon halfway around the world.
About the author
1952, Tabriz, Iran
Reza Deghati is a photojournalist, author and founder of AINA (‘the mirror’), a non-profit organisation dedicated to the education and empowerment of women and children through the use of media, communication and education. In 2006 he was National Geographic Explorers Fellow for his work with AINA in Afghanistan. In November 2005 Reza was awarded France’s highest civilian honour, the Chevalier de l’Ordre du Mérite, for his philanthropic work. In 2006 he received the Honor Medal from the University of Missouri – Columbia School of Journalism. Deghati has exhibited throughout the world his landmark exhibition in Paris, Crossing Destinies, drew a million people over four months in the summer of 2003. He is the author of twelve books and in 2008 a retrospective of his photographic career War and Peace will be published by National Geographic.
Benoit Aquin, The Chinese 'Dust Bowl', 2006-2007
Edward Burtynsky, Selected works, 1996-2007
Jesus Abad Colorado, Landscapes and Battles: Two wings wait for the end of the tragedy, 1995-2002
Thomas Joshua Cooper, The World's Edge - The Atlantic Basin Project, 1998-2006
Sebastian Copeland, Antarctica - The Global Warning, 2006
Christian Cravo, Waters of Hope, Rivers of Tears, 1995-2008
Lynn Davis, Ice, 1988-2007
Carl De Keyzer, Moments before the Flood, 2006-2007
Reza Deghati, War and Peace, 1994-2006
Susan Derges, Eden & The Observer and the Observed, 1991-2008
Malcolm Hutcheson, Lahore's Waste Water Problem, 2008
Chris Jordan, In Katrina's Wake: Portraits of Loss from an Unnatural Disaster, 2005
David Maisel, Terminal Mirage & The Lake Project, 2001-2004
Mary Mattingly, Second Nature and Time Has Fallen Asleep, 2004-2008
Robert Polidori, After The Flood, 2005-2006
Roman Signer, Body of Work, 1976-2000
Jules Spinatsch, Snow Management, 2004-2008
Munem Wasif, Water Tragedy: Climate Refugee of Bangladesh, 2007