“It was a really tough story to cover, because the subject wasn’t there,” says Chris McGrath. “There was so much press there, and everyone was having the same problem – I was talking with other photographers and the Getty Images office about how to tell the story. It became every day going to the same place, standing, trying to get a picture that said something.”
The story was the disappearance of the disappearance of Jamal Khashoggi and the problem was exactly that – a Saudi Arabian journalist, author, and editor, who wrote for The Washington Post, Khashoggi had gone to the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on 02 October 2018 and vanished. Lurid reports that he’d been killed and dismembered soon circulated, but his body has still not been found and initially, the Saudi Arabian government denied his death. There was, as McGrath says, very little to photograph.
Then on 15 October, Saudi and Turkish officials were allowed in to inspect the building, and McGrath, along with many other journalists and photographers, went along to photograph the development. “We didn’t know when the inspectors would arrive, but everyone was there,” says McGrath. “All the press was trying to get something, and this guy was holding us back.”
Our pick of the key stories from the past week, including interviews with World Press Photo-nominated photographers, details of Bangladesh’s Chobi Mela festival, plus Piero Percoco on his wildly successful Instagram The Rainbow is Underestimated
Taking a new approach to documentary photography after a near-death experience in Libya, Guy Martin captured Turkey’s fantasies and created a series which was recently published by GOST. “To not learn from that event in April 2011, I couldn’t do that to myself,” he says. “I couldn’t justify it to my family, I couldn’t be put in that same situation again,” he says. “The starting point was to take control of my photography, to use my photography instead of letting it use me.”
“It’s a bit hard to find words for this – You don’t look Native to me won the PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant,” says Maria Sturm. “I feel exponentially happy and glad to be sharing the list with other women photographers whose work I admire.”
Sturm has won the prize in a strong year for the PHmuseum Women Photographers Grant, with the 31 shortlisted photographers including Magnum Photos’ Diana Markosian, Sputnik Photos’ Karolina Gembara, and Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize-winner Alice Mann. But her long-term project You don’t look Native to me, which shows young Native Americans in Pembroke, North Carolina impressed the judges with its sensitive approach to its subjects.
“Photographers have a responsibility to tell these stories,” says Esa Ylijaasko of his project, November is a beginning, which shows a community of Syrian refugees living in Istanbul. Forced out by the civil war some 2.9 million Syrians have fled to Turkey, of whom about 800,000 have settled in the capital city, many in the formerly abandoned Süleymaniye neighbourhood. Knowing little Turkish and lacking the right documentation, they are left in a kind of limbo – unable to work legally, they rely on their meagre savings, cash-in-hand jobs and charity. “If they’re are caught by the police, they are sent to refugee camps,” explains Ylijaasko. “But as illegal workers, they earn below the minimum wage – around $250 to $300 USD monthly, which is just enough to cover their living expenses. Kind-hearted locals bring food and clothes, helping them to survive. But life stands still.” Originally from Finland, Ylijaasko started shooting the series back in 2013, after moving to Istanbul and hearing about the community. “I decided I’d try at least,” he says. “More people can help …
“MY FRIENDS!” writes Çağdaş Erdoğan from the Silivri Prison, Istanbul on 21 September, in a handwritten letter translated by a curator contact and circulated by his publisher Akina Books. “I salute all of you with my heart. Regardless of the illogical times we have been having, I hope you are well. Don’t worry about me. I’m doing well despite the physical and psychological negativities I experienced since the last two weeks.” Erdoğan was taken into custody at the start of September and officially arrested on 13 September, when he was put into pretrial arrest on accusations of membership to a terrorist organisation. In his letter, Erdoğan discusses the reason he was initially apprehended, and discusses some of the reasons he has been given for the terrorism charges.
Turkish photographer Çağdaş Erdoğan has been arrested in Istanbul according to his agency 140journos. The photographer, who was featured in the British Journal of Photography’s Ones to Watch list earlier this year, is thought to have been arrested whilst taking photographs in Istanbul’s central Kadikoy district
“I believe Turkey is photographed deficiently,” says Çağdaş Erdoğan. “The photographs we see of Turkey are propaganda for the nationalist movement, or they’re Orientalist images for the outer world since these are what they want to see.”Erdoğan, 24, is a Kurdish Turk born in a small town in the east of the country who has established himself as one of the leading young photojournalists in a newly authoritarian and conservative Turkey
Back in February 2015, BJP flagged up Cemre Yesil as a One to Watch – and now her series For Birds’ Sake, made with Maria Sturm, has won a Prix Levallois nomination. We revisit our article on this series and her hands-on approach to photography
“Istanbul is such a diverse place, so naturally the fashion world matches that,” says photojournalist Monique Jaques, who lives in the city. “I wanted to highlight the unique relationship women have with fashion – that you can dress in a conservative but expressive, colourful and modern way.” Jaques, whose work has been published in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and the Telegraph, began shooting the images for the series in 2011, during Istanbul’s Islamic Fashion Week. She photographed catwalk shows and behind-the-scenes activities for two days, but continues to add to the series, contacting fashion bloggers and magazines about photographing their events and shoots. “I really love working on this project because it challenges the conventional stereotypes that Islamic women can’t be fashionable,” says Jaques. “The women I photographed jokingly said, ‘This isn’t your mother’s Islam.’ There are many homegrown design houses in Istanbul, such as Armine and Tekbir, as well as Ala, a fashion magazine that translates modern trends for conservative ladies. There is a huge market for high-end conservative fashion in Turkey and a growing demand for it …