Thousands of people gathered in Istanbul protest against Erdogan and the election results, in Istanbul. Protests continue on the results of the referendum held on Sunday in Turkey.

İstanbul’da bir araya gelen binlerce insan, Erdoğan ve seçim sonuçlarını İstanbul’da protesto etti. Türkiye’de Pazar günü yapılan referandum sonuçlarına protesto gösterileri devam ediyor.

10 Year Letter, working as an NGO Photographer…

Syrian Refugee family / Turkey.

10 Year Letter

With my warm regards to those who have the courage to gaze into the lens of a camera…

Dear People of Support to Life and other NGO’s friend.

How disconcerting can a camera be, in your area of work? While you tip-toe in the field with your hard-earned trust and fragile human relationships, imagine a photographer who is trying to peek into those most intimate moments… That’s me. If I were you, I would call that man an outlander at best. Believe me, that’s how I feel too. An outlander… I strive to “quietly” operate on the feeling of trust you people create. Ok I confess; I am not always quiet. Either way, this has been going on for almost 10 years now. I’ve never been kicked out of a door, but many were shut in my face. With your help, I stepped in through another door, or a window. Not to catch just another shot, but to spend a little more time to get the best shot. Maybe what I’ve been believing in is the power of photographs; their power to change. But photos can’t change anything by themselves or even exist by themselves. Whenever I stop to look again at dozens of photos I take every day, I see a journey staring back at me through those eyes in the shots. Since the Syrian crisis began, I’ve been walloping and navigating along with you along the border. Today, when I look back, I realise that I wasn’t the one navigating, it was the refugees themselves, refugees who “have the courage to gaze into the lens of a camera.” Those carrying the aid boxes through the mud to their homes, tents, container-shelters, or those who walk under the rain for days in search of a shelter; now they have become partners to a different life. I am simply the one that photographed it. I see the change much clearer as I look at this latest photo I took in Hatay. Smiling faces… Faces that can fuse together pain and hope and hopelessness, and still smile again. Faces that cosy up to the warm woodstove and try their newly-bought clothes on. Mothers and children. Yes, I do realise that as soon as that door opens cold air will rush in and this house has heating only in one of its rooms. I also realise that no one knows if there will be another day of shopping after this one. But why should it matter? Just seeing this moment, seeing the refugees pick their new clothes as if there is a festival coming tomorrow, in a house they can heat; that’s enough reason to smile. 

 Kerem Yücel


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