Iran's Lake Urmia used to be the largest lake in the Middle East. But the salt lake has shrunk by two-thirds since 1997.
According to the United Nations Development Program, the lake has shrunk because of Iran's water crisis and detrimental agricultural policies.
The area's agriculture and economy have suffered. Many people have moved away.
Meysam Mir Zendehdel, a documentary photographer, took his first trip to the lake in 2013.
A washed-up boat sits empty in the lake.
A shot from inside the boat.
Bleak and austere, the atmosphere at Lake Urmia appears completely desolate. "After seeing it, I found it an environmental and social disaster," Zendehdel said. "It was a tragedy."
A herd of sheep walks at the lake.
Wooden planks remind you that water was once in abundance here.
People pack bags of what appears to be salt.
Some people still live at the lake, according to Zendehdel, but most moved out to neighboring villages after their farms were depleted.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has pledged $5 billion to fix the lake over the next 10 years.
The extreme salinity of the lake allowed people to swim and relax without sinking.
"When you walk on dried crystal of salt, in the absolute silence, you hear just the sound of cracking salt crystal," Zendehdel said. "You remember that the sound of water in this area had been people's life, and it's very disappointing that that silence of the lake has silenced the life."