A Disquieting Look at Life Around the Caspian Sea

Photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews Captures the Geography of the Land and the Practices That Connect People to It

The Caspian Sea is the world’s largest inland body of water, nestled between Europe and Asia, and surrounded by five countries: Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan. Through history, the area has been under the sway of the Persians, the Mongols, the Ottomans, and the Russians.

For five years, from 2010-2015, British photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews traveled throughout this part of the world, chronicling its people, politics, and geography. Her photos detail not only the elements of its famous geology—which include oil and uranium—but also the practices that connect residents …