Ebru - Attila Durak - A Photographic Journey

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Jeff Atchley
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Ebru - Attila Durak - A Photographic Journey

Post by Jeff Atchley » Tue May 13, 2008 6:19 am

Hello all...I went to an exhibition of Durak's photographs here in Memphis, TN (USA) a couple days ago. The exhibition is entitled "Ebru"...which is also the title of his book which, according to his own words, is the result of a five year journey trying to record the cultural diversity of present day Turkey through photographic portraits of its people. The book is not cheap, but I went ahead and bought it. It is a large format "coffee table" type book (over 440 pages) containing some 300 photographs taken of people in various parts of Turkey. The first part of the book also contains fairly extensive text (I have not yet had an opportunity to read it all) written by Durak and several coauthors, and is a series of brief essays about different cultural/religious/ethnic groups depicted in the book, and the history and process of their attempts (or lack of attempts) to merge with the "greater" Turkish society since the founding of the Republic. The authors seem to recognize that there are some in Turkey who do not agree that this book is a "representative" photographic survey of Turkish culture, and I am not really sure that Durak intended it to be "representative". I cannot speak to any political/social agenda that Durak might have (or not have) in publishing this book, but as a serious amateur photographer myself, I can tell you that the photography is really beautiful. As an American who has also lived in Turkey and who thinks very highly of virtually ALL the "Turks" I have known over the years, regardless of their ethnic origin, I can tell you that I am impressed by the book. If you have a chance to see the Exhibit (I believe it will be touring certain cities in the U.S. this year), I urge you to go see it. If you can obtain a copy of the book, the portraits of the people it contains really do convey - at least to me as a foreigner- a sense of the tremendous cultural diversity (and inevitable conflict) that exists in Turkey today. At the very least, I learned much more about the multi-cultural nature of the Turkish population! I have to note that the essays and photographs do tend to focus on the various minority groups within Turkey - as opposed to depicting the general ethnic Turkish population.


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