AwareNow: Issue 19: The Source Edition

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Page 21




Abdullah Aydemir, a photographer based in Istanbul, believes that the whole universe can be hidden in the eyes of children. In his collection, ‘Eyes of Istanbul’, he shares images unable to be defined, as no number of words (no matter how eloquent) could ever describe them. Within the eyes of the often impoverished children he meets as he walks the streets of Istanbul, universes are found that can’t be bound by unfortunate circumstances or any number of missed chances.

Allié: It’s been said that ‘a picture says a thousand words’. When it comes to your work, I disagree. With ‘Eyes of Istanbul’, each photo speaks a thousand chapters or volumes perhaps. What inspired you to take these photos? What is it that you want people to see?

Abdullah: Thank you very much for your nice thoughts, Allié. Despite all the difficult conditions of life, the shining universes are hidden in the eyes of those children.

Allié: When it comes to you as an artist, Abdullah, was photography your first love? Or were you passionate about another art form before this?

Abdullah: I have been interested in fine arts since my childhood. I had pencil drawing and sculpture work. My passion for photography was added later.

Allié: Eager to hear more about this project. When did it begin? How many photos have you taken? Where was the very first shot taken?

Abdullah: When it first started, I didn't think of it as a project. Because I love people, I wanted to step into their world. For about 10 years, I have started photographing people, old and young but usually children, who I come across on the streets of Istanbul. This turned into the ‘Eyes of Istanbul’ project over time.

Allié: As an artist, what is the source of your inspiration for your photography?

Abdullah: My main inspiration is to connect with people and leave a mark on the way from the eye to the heart.

Allié: These photos are beyond captivating. Almost ethereal, they elicit an instant emotional response that is hard to define. What can you tell us about these children?

Abdullah: The children in the photos are usually the children of refugee families fleeing the war. They may be in misery and poverty, but somehow they manage to be happy despite everything. Whenever I meet them on the streets, they welcome me in a positive way. I hope all the children are happy.

Allié: In the eyes of children, there is much we can learn. What lessons have you personally learned?

Abdullah: I learned hope, love and innocence in those eyes. ∎

Connect with Abdullah and follow his work on Instagram