End it with a bang

September 10, 2013


Tonight is my last night here in Istanbul and what a way to end it - tear gas and plastic explosives flying past my ears. It was never my intention to photograph demonstrations, I just got caught up in between and then ran, without a gas mask, I didn't last long. No, I came to experience this city, get a glimpse into Turkish life and to photograph without pre-formed story idea.

I have been curious for while whether a more loose interpretation of a photographic story would be not only more enjoyable but also result in more interesting photos. I wanted to create more space for personal interpretations, ad hock decisions and see if a story/theme develops naturally out of my intrinsic impulses.

It has been an amazing time, both challenging and clarifying. Even though I very much enjoyed taking photographs without an immediate objective/story in mind, there came a point, 3 days in, when I really felt the need to go deeper, to talk to the people. I wanted to hear their stories, make more space for them and take myself a bit out of the equation.

I found a brilliant translator through a friend and we set off to shoot portraits of people in Gezi park. I was drawn to this place because, it really is one of the few public places where everybody here in Istanbul seems to feel at home. Even though I came much too late to capture the actual protest in response to the governments plans to destroy Gezi park and build a shopping centre instead of it - the ripple it has caused can still be felt almost everywhere.

To be able to listen to the stories / thoughts of the persons I photographed was such an amazing addition. I realised, that this part of story telling has become almost as important for me as taking the picture. I can't wait to see the negatives, start editing and see if my experiment has been visually as successful as it has been for me personally.

Now 7 days in, again I can clearly feel that I would love go a next step deeper and focus on a specific theme. This however will have to wait for my next visit.

Now just quickly, for the news hungry amongst you, here is a short summery of the information that I have gathered.

This morning Tuesday September 10th, a 22-year-old Turkish man died in the Turkish border city of Hatay as violence broke out between police and demonstrators protesting against military intervention in neighbouring Syria.

Several hundred demonstrators were rallying in central Istanbul this evening against the death of this protester and military intervention in Syria. They also want to show solidarity with demonstrations taking place in Ankara at the moment.

The protest in Ankara again are linked to the demolition of a park that is situated near the University.

There are even more current demonstrations taking place in villages bordering the black sea where the villagers are protesting against the building of more power plants by the government.