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Photography by Emine Sevim

Going under the bridge in Gezi Park

What happened when two photographers documented the summer's day that triggered Turkey's identity crisis

PhotographyEmine SevimPhotographyJake PriceTextAshleigh Kane

On a summer's day in 2013, what began as a peaceful protest to protect Istanbul’s Gezi Park from urban development now evokes the raw memories of tear gas, water cannons, death and countless injuries. Born from these uprisings, Köprüaltı (translating to “Under the Bridge”) is a collaboration between photographers Jake Price and Emine Sevim, brought together under the curatorial eye of James Welford. The exhibition takes its name from a Turkish cultural idiom, referencing the neglected buildings and areas that society’s fringe dwellers populate, as well as a direct nod to Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who referred to the Gezi Park protesters as looters. However, the duo, who set out independently for the area, took their project further than the park itself, focusing on the bubbling tensions and the identity crisis that the Turkish people now face as they try to preserve their country’s principles and beliefs. Capturing the 18 day struggle between the citizens and the increasingly authoritarian government who consider elements of everyday living – so often taken for granted – such as sexual freedom, consumption of alcohol and personal style, as immoral.

Köprüaltı is currently on show at Photoville which is held at New York’s Brooklyn Bridge Park throughout September.