American photographer Mustafah Abdulaziz has travelled through 32 countries since 2011 shooting his long-term project on our relationship with water
Mustafah Abdulaziz was the first contract photographer at The Wall Street Journal and his work has been published extensively in print and online media. In 2012 he was named one of PDN’s 30 Emerging Photographers to Watch. Now living in Berlin, Germany, he is a documentary photographer whose work focuses on human beings’ relationship with nature, from which the project ‘Water’ emanates.
Mustafah’s years long and still ongoing project is all about how humans and water interact at the juncture of its critical and defining impact on earth. The project itself started in 2011 and has received grants from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting and commissions from the United Nations and WaterAid. It has also received support from VSCO. It is a collaboration between NGOs Earthwatch, WaterAid, WWF and HSBC’s global water programme. You can donate to the project through blueearth.org.
When I say ‘water’ I mean the full sense of it – whether it’s spirituality along the Ganges river, whether it’s pollution, whether it’s industry and the movement of human beings, migration, water scarcity, climate change. The project is very very large but it’s also very inclusive to human experience.
You can view a magnificent set of images at www.mustafahabdulaziz.com/water. The photographer uses two 6×7 film format rangefinder cameras and two lenses, which he says grounds his work and keeps him concentrated on the immediate reality of what he is shooting instead of worrying about what’s in the back of the camera.
In summer 2016, Mustafah turned his lens on New York’s waterways, the photographs of which were exhibited in an open‐air solo exhibition in New York City along with images from other countries he has covered. The display is part of Photoville in Brooklyn Bridge Park, running from September 21 – October 12, 2016.
The ‘Water Stories’ exhibit was first shown in Stockholm in 2015 and then London in March and April 2016. Below, watch a short film in which Mustafah talks around his work in the context of its display in London. Also read an interview he did with WaterAid.