Top left: 3 June 2013. Besiktas Dolmabahçe Mosque hosted volunteer doctors and the injured demonstrators and was used as an infirmary. Photo by Ahmet SIK/Nar Photos.
Top right: 31 May 2013. Turkish riot police continue to attack the protestors who are resisting the demolition of Gezi Park. According to Istanbul’s Chamber of Doctors, there are approximately 100 injured people. Photo by Eren Aytuğ/Nar Photos.
Center: 28 May 2013. Police use tear gas to disperse a group who are standing guard in Istanbul’s Gezi Park in an attempt to prevent the Istanbul Metropolitan Municipality from demolishing the last remaining green public space in the center of the city. Photo by Tolga Sezgin/Nar Photos.
Bottom: 5 June 2013. People gather at Taksim Square and Gezi Park to protest Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan and the AKP government on the 9th day of the Gezi Park resistance. Photo by Tolga Sezgin/Nar Photos.
Covering Gezi: Reflecting on Photographing Daily Life during Extraordinary Events
After a few days, we asked one of our friends to go buy us some gas masks. He called and said there had been a run on them, and prices were up to 350–400 Turkish liras each (approximately $160–$220). We opted for some cheaper construction masks, and made do. But we had to learn how to cover such an event. We are not war photographers.
Later in the evening, another member of the Nar Photos Collective chuckled:
During one of the major stand-offs, we positioned ourselves at the very front of the protestors—a mere ten meters from the police. Not ten minutes in, we both got shot with rubber bullets and immediately had to seek cover and come back to the office! Knocked out in less than ten minutes!
The Nar Photos Collective is an independent photography agency in Istanbul, with some members based out of Diyarbakir in southeastern Turkey. Established ten years ago, they specialize in social documentary photography. Most of their stories feature narratives about changing landscapes (both social and physical)—projects developed over long periods of time and often shared with relevant non-profit groups. They do very little coverage of spot news. Even the spot news section of their website is full of stories about demonstrations and activism. Their office, a small very modest two-room apartment made up of a few desks and furniture outgrown by friends, is just down the street from Taksim Square—a transportation hub and a public space with a long history of protests and demonstrations as well as large gatherings and celebrations.
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