For Birds Sake - (working title)
ongoing work in collaboration with Maria Sturm.
Since the time of the Ottoman Empire, Istanbul has been a very important city for aviculture. The city’s geographical location for bird migration has led to the establishment of a huge culture devoted to birds and their care. Many diverse social platforms exist devoted to the keeping and breeding of birds. Today this culture is in danger; keeping songbirds such as goldfinches and greenfinches, in particular, may soon vanish due to the Turkey’s adaptation to criteria for European Union candidacy. This work is about the birdmen of Istanbul and focuses on the -shrouded- relationship between the bird and the birdman, one full of contradictions of love, possession and pleasure.
This is a a deeper look at birds without seeing actual birds, but instead listening to them.
Imagery stuffed with representations of birds.
A mutual madness between photographers and birdmen;
us; trying to understand this passion fitted into cages,
and them; trying to understand our urge to take pictures of these ‘ordinary’ cages.
the contradictions of femininity and masculinity.
the feminine caress along with the power of men.
the male birds that sing to call the females and the male bird keepers who compete amongst themselves to be the birdman with the best singing bird.
the interruption of actual husband-wife relationships and the tattoos of the names of wives as a proof of their love for their women.
an escape, a life-long journey
a shadow that is being carried away, everywhere they go
a father, a lover, a healer
an illegal tradition
Something they need in order to feel good.
a fight towards the power of nature to make the birds live longer…and a fight against people who are trying to ‘protect’ the birds and let them fly. - [only a bird that is caught from freedom sings the best.]
a demanding care
a gentle touch
men smelling like newspapers and turkish tea
a panel of four judges who listen to so called the mistakes of four birds that are competing against each other…or four birdmen.
a white box that contains darkness
in order to make the bird sing more beautiful.
a very nice conversation
a language that derives from birds.
…and two women trying to learn how to listen and speak.
Cemre Yesil is a Turkish photographer living and working in Istanbul and London. Her BA is in photography and she holds an MA in visual arts from Sabanci University. She is a current practice-based PhD student in London College of Communication. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally. She had attended several artist residencies including Atelier de Visu in Marseille (directed by the Magnum Photographer Antoine D’agata). She has won several awards including AGM Magnum Masterclass NY 2014 ‘Confronting Fear’ over-night assignment, Prix de la Photographie Competition PARIS- press and portrait category. She was nominated for the Paul Huf Award 2014 of Amsterdam Photography Museum FOAM.
A selection from her ‘An/other’ series which is a part of Istanbul Modern Museum’s photography collection will be featured in LANDSKRONA FOTOFESTIVAL (Sweden) in August 2014. Recently, OBSCURA PHOTOFESTIVAL (Penang/Malesia) presented her ‘Milk tooth' series as one of the print exhibitions in 2014 AWPS which is curated by Yumi Goto . Apart from her personal projects, she lectures on history of photography and photography techniques in Istanbul Bilgi University and Koç University. Recent publications include 'Kesik / Cut' (2010), 'We have not lived through such a thing.' (2012) and 'This was' (2013). She just had her third solo exhibition titled 'This was' in May 2014. She is represented by Daire Gallery in Istanbul.
Maria Sturm was born in 1985 in Ploiesti, Romania and moved to Germany in 1991 after the revolution. She received her diploma in photography and media from the University of Applied Sciences Bielefeld in 2012. Maria won the New York Photo Award (category “Student photobook”), was awarded third place at Erstwerk 2012 (Institut fur Buchgestaltung’s annual book competition) and she was chosen for a
residency and workshop with Magnum photographer Antoine d’Agata at Atelier de Visu in Marseille, France in 2012. Maria was a fnalist at the 54th edition of Bourse du Talent and also fnalist for the Stern scholarship “Junge Fotografie”. She was shortlisted at the Athens Photo Festival 2013, as well as at Kolga Tbilisi Photo 2013. She has been nominated recently for the Joop Swart Masterclass 2014. Her work has been exhibited and published internationally and she is now based in Berlin, Germany.
The featured photographer for August was Cemre Yesil