This week on the Prodibi Pixel Magazine, we go to Van, located in the eastern Anatolia region of Turkey with Nadir Bucan, an academician and documentary photographer.
UNDER THE SHADOW OF THE SUN is Nadir's long-term photography work in which he follows the life of villagers and nomads and documents how they live their daily lives.
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Under The Shadow of the Sun
Documentary photographer Nadir Bucan has spent the past six years documenting life in the small villages of Turkey’s Van region. The project, "Under the Shadow of the Sun", is a testament to the stripped down life that exists in the remote area, where people’s survival is based on their animals.
As Nadir described it, "In the eastern corner of Turkey, entire communities go about their days without the constant hum of dislocated communication. Looking at their lives, we can ask ourselves: what have we lost in the midst of our dizzying technological gains?".
The photos in the series capture people going about their daily lives; riding on horseback, bathing in the lakes and rivers, sitting around campfires and tending to their animals. Most noticeable is the stunning scenery that acts as a backdrop – from sprawling mountain ranges with snowy peaks to vast, dry open plains.
Nadir says, “I moved to the Van region in 2010 to work as a photography teacher at the Yüzüncü Yıl University. Of course I was also aware that Van has witnessed many cultures and peoples and is marked profoundly by its traditional villages, mountains, lakes, and islands. As a photographer this was definitely something I wanted to explore."
Nadir continues, "And then there was the ever-present sun, which the ancient Urartu must have been inspired by when they named the region ‘Tuşba,’ (the city of the sun). And so in 2011, I entitled my project In The Shadow of the Sun, and began to explore hidden lives. I use the word hidden, because once I traversed the steep paths and reached remote mountain villages such as Toreli, Bilgi, and Uzuntekne, I was greeted with a kind of lifestyle very few of us have ever witnessed. I really see these hidden lives as the antithesis of our technology driven culture."
"The most beautiful moment occurred in the two nights where I was invited to stay in the villagers’ highland tents, which somehow offer battle against the often indifferent forces of nature. My hosts were the colorfully dressed twins who crossed my path on a whim and the three sisters who had taken their horse out to feed in the pasture. They became the protagonists of my most cherished moments."
Nadir adds, "It’s possible to say that nature dominates the culture of these people and they exist quietly in a place where technology is not superior. They know how to face the harsh natural conditions and are able to satiate every need completely independently. Just as they are not connected to any sort of industry, they are also not the kind of consumer we’re familiar with. One of the things that struck me most was that the profound unease that comes with modern living is entirely absent in these villages."
Nadir concludes, "And one of the most important things I learned is that the ideology of human progression, and its consequent technological breakthroughs, have not made humankind happier and have instead decreased genuine and human experiences.”
About Nadir Bucan
Nadir Bucan defines himself as both an academician and documentary photographer. He started to take pictures with an analog camera in 1999 when digital photography had not declared its dominance yet. He used roll films until 2009 and he participated in every stage of photography from chemical bath to printing. His works were exhibited in major cities of the world such as New York, Paris, London and published in national and international magazines. He was recently invited to La Quatriéme Image International Photography Festival to exhibit his last work in Paris and selected as a winner at Barcelona International Photography Awards BIPA 2018.
He is also interested in theoretical aspect of photography. So, he took his doctoral degree in 2018 with his thesis work title “Changing Boundaries of Documentary Photography: Post Documentary Photography.” At the same time, he has academic articles published with the titles "Walter Benjamin and Documentary Photography" and "The Sociologist with a Camera: Sebastião Salgado." Bucan lives in Turkey and teaches photography classes at the Faculty of Fine Arts of Van Yuzuncu Yil University.
To see more from Nadir:
All photographs copyright Nadir Bucan and used with his permission.
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