“Everything is great on the Caspian Sea: the expectationsfor future oil and gas revenues, ambitious development projects, promises and hopes. Everything is uncertain on the Caspian Sea: the fate of the environment and the direction of its people; even the status of these promising waters is as yet undefined...”

For over four years, photographer Mila Teshaieva has documented the transformation of the three former Soviet republics on the shores of theCaspian Sea: Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The battle for control of the region’s vast oil and gas reserves and the search for a national identity have led to far-reaching changes for the society and environment. Teshaieva’s images reveal an atmosphere of insecurity, where people pin their hopes and expectations on a transformation whose direction remains uncertain. The project takes the viewer on a subtle and complex journey through the promises of a new oil region, raising questions as to the relationship between the state and private identity, the ties between past, present and future, and how to pinpoint the boundary between rise or fall.


"The golden silkscreen print hard cover introduces the dreaminess and the wonder that features throughout the whole narrative..." Sanne Schim van der Loeff, GUP

"Always in the background, the omnipresence of the sea which can almost be smelt in every picture. The differences become surrealistic, due to the incredible contrast between rural areas and fast developed towns..." Christer Ek

"With short pieces of text added smartly in the flow of the photographs, the book tells us a story that is more universal that you would imagine, a story that could – and does – play itself out in other places as well." Jörg M. Colberg

"Her photographs draw on her beautifully muted palette in some areas and surprising brightness around new money..." Sue Steward

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