Khashayar Javanmardi

1991, Iran
Nominee - Prix Elysée 2023

Khashayar Javanmardi, born in 1991, is an Iranian documentary photographer. His work ranges from stories of social efforts to portraits and essay projects on self-experimental topics.

He completed his A.S. in Art and Architecture from the Guilan University. He was graduated in photojournalism at Danish Media and Journalism School DMJX in 2020. He also studied photojournalism at Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

Khashayar Javanmardi was recognized with the Iranian Emerging Talented Photographers of the Year Award for three consecutive years.

He began working professionally for the Iranian press at the age of 19 through the Jam Photo Agency. He has published in The New York Times, Reuters, Washington Post, Guardian and the most of Iranian newspaper and publications.

Khashayar Javanmardi is the founder and director at Mamaat Art Collective. Currently, he works on his personal documentary projects and is represented by Silk Road Art Gallery.


See the Caspian

As a child, Khashayar Javanmardi would count down the moment until he was to the Caspian Sea to enjoy its limitless swimming. As a teenager, his first choice for a solo trip was this beautiful blue sea. And later on, all his romantic memories took place by the Caspian shorelines. Now, after years of living next to it, watching its gradual destruction and pollution makes him long for its future and past.

The Caspian Sea, called a sea or a lake, is the world’s vastest inland body of water. The lives of its inhabitants, like the Sea become smaller and poorer. Those who leave and those who stay and live with their demise are all aware of its destruction.

It seems the 5 countries that have a share in the Caspian Sea have decided to turn it into a swamp and show no interest in conserving or saving it. Improper management, sewage, industrial waste, and infectious leachate flowing from its rivers pollute both seawater and groundwater. Pollution of the Caspian Sea has not only reduced aquatic life; rather, it threatens humain food security. Pollution of the Caspian Sea is one of the leading causes of economic losses in the northern provinces. But mismanagement is the main factor. Waste management in the Caspian Sea is on the verge of crisis and seriously threatens the Sea’s environment. So annually, about 122 thousand tons of pollutants from Caspian coastal states, including oil pollutions, domestic and industrial sewage, different types of wastes and plastics, and contaminants of commercial fleets, pollute the sea environment and endanger different biological species. Environmental degradation has affected the life of biological species and the life of the local fishermen, with a 70% reduction in fishing rate in recent years. As a result, the income of the fishermen, who this job is the only source of their income, had a sharp decrease, making it hard for them to afford costs.

Another point to consider is that gastrointestinal cancer is the most common cause of death in northern Iran and has determined the fate of millions of coastal residents.

Now that Khashayar Javanmardi lives by the Caspian Sea and has the opportunity to fulfil his lifelong dream of travelling along the Caspian Sea, he has decided to record what he and the people here are experiencing before he and them all disappear. He has decided to photograph the connection of human beings with their environment, their existence, extinction, and their interaction with the sea. He aims to photograph the last efforts of nature, which is trying to survie under the pressure of human beings. And he tries to document the lives of these people in this geographical area.

To Khashayar Javanmardi, this sea is like a photographic film that has not been well fixed in the development process and will disappear in the future. He wishes to continue and extend his long-term project around the Caspian Sea and the 5 countries surrounding it, hopefully making his book called See the Caspian.


Khashayar Javanmardi – See the Caspian

"As a child, Khashayar Javanmardi counted down the days until he would go to the Caspian Sea to enjoy endless swimming. As a teenager, his first choice for a solo trip was immediately this beautiful blue sea. Later, all his romantic memories took place on the Caspian shorelines. Today, after years o...
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