Its hard shooting Inan. He’s a busy man, working at the kebab shop all day everyday with very little time to relax. I want to talk about how I met Inan for a second, to give some context. When I was studying in college, I used to work at this Kabab shop in Essex called Ali Baba in Elm Park. Inan and his father Haydar own the shop and Inan is only 2 years older than myself, he is currently 23, so we instantly clicked and got on, mostly talking about cars and giving each other banter etc. The idea for this project came around a long long time ago. I remember having a break, eating some food with Haydar when he was watching something on his phone. He was watching videos from Turkey of the beginning of their slaughter of Kurds in the Turkish regions. He was watching gunfights, shelling and atrocities being committed on his iPhone. I could see he was getting upset about what he was watching so I asked, are you okay, what are you looking at? He showed me the video and began to talk to me about the Turkish army killing innocent Kurds. Being interested in photography and world relations, I obviously paid attention and listened as best as I could as Haydars English isn’t the best either. It sprung into my head, why is this not on the news, how comes I have never even heard of Kurdistan before? It got my interested in what was going on really. I cant remember exactly when this was, but it was around the time when ISIS was really starting to take control of states in Iraq and Syria, also around the time the British journalists were beheaded. It made me loose trust with the news papers and media to be honest, as i’ve never heard of an incidents from Turkey beforehand.
Anyway, the shoot. Went alright, I already knew the shots I wanted in my head. I clearly remember one image that stuck in my head from the photographer Andrew Jackson who came into uni to talk to us last semester. There was a photograph of a young asian man against a red brick wall which caught my attention. I wanted to recreate that. In Andrews photograph, the man has his eyes closed, looking peaceful. I wanted to stir it up a little. I got Inan to look toward the sun and frown, to show anger and frustration. In all of the shots I wanted of Inan, I wanted him to look angry and scary as a knew he was a big chap who hits the gym regularly. I wanted to show, with his facial expressions, the feelings he has against Turkey in a way.
Another shot I knew I wanted was a shot to put Inan into context. I knew that the location of the shop is on a highstreet, next to a busy train station. So there are 3 story 1970s flats surrounding Inans shop. I wanted to shot like this to place Inan in an environment, show where he is living and most importantly show that it is East London. Again I asked Inan to look angry and also confident, asking him to raise his chin slightly. I had to bring out the shadows in his beard in post production as I feel his beard is a key feature of his appearance which needed to remain.
I also wanted to capture Inan speaking, on video about his knowledge of Kurdistan so that I could take his words and use them as quotes in my book for the degree show/hand in. But he was too busy to spare 10 minutes to talk, so I had to come back the next week. I finally got his time though, set up the camera in my car and asked him a few questions, surrounding Turkey, Kurdistan, the history of Kurdistan and if he knew how it all started.