Published! In JPG Magazine Issue 25
Uploaded 13 Sep 2010 — 14 favorites
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© Basak Buyukcelen
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Photo Info
UploadedSeptember 13, 2010
TakenSeptember 13, 2010
ModelCanon EOS 5D
Exposure1/500 sec at f/5.6
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length40 mm
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On a photo trip to a village near Balikesir, Turkey, we got lost and found ourselves in a tiny village, off the map. While walking towards the village, a lovely young woman saw me through her window. Calling me "the tourist", she asked if I needed any help.

Guiding me through the small village, taking me to the mosque, showing me the village coffee house, we had the chance to chat.

This 23 year old young woman, Aysel, being very bashful, didn't tell me much about herself. But I spent the whole day with the villagers and learnt her story...

Born in a very poor family in Azerbaijan, Aysel wanted to immigrate to Turkey and help out her family financially. Hearing about a matchmaking service, Aysel signed up to get married to a man she never saw before, who lives in Turkey.

Due to migration from the small village to big cities, Omer- whom I did not get a chance to meet today- was complaining about how there are no young girls left in the village to get married to. Hearing about the matchmaking service, Omer signed up and shortly after, Omer and Aysel got matched up.

Having seen each others photos, Aysel agreed to marry Omer and move to Turkey, in exchange for a big amount of money -drahoma*- to be paid to her family, as a gift of their marriage.

Getting married at the age of 18, Aysel left her family and her homeland and got pregnant right away. Her son Yusuf is today 4 years old and does not leave his mom's sight for even a second. As bashful as his mom, it was quite hard to convince Yusuf to take his photos.

Although I thought the story was quite sad, Aysel seems to be very happy and comfortable in the village and she obviously loves her new family deeply.

The villagers gave me the "good news" right before I left off. There's a new bride coming in 4 months! The groom is quite excited about his future wife but is impatient that he has to wait for 4 more months until the girl reaches the age of 18....

* The word drahoma is not used in Turkish, but it is very common in the village marriages that a young man who wants to get married pays money or gives away land, sheep, house etc to be able to marry the girl he loves.

13 responses

  • George A

    George A gave props (13 Sep 2010):

    Nice story and lovely photo!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (21 Sep 2010):

    N I C E S H O T ! ! ! ! and Excellent narration

  • morad khoshbakhti

    morad khoshbakhti said (21 Oct 2010):

    very nice

  • ajtiM

    ajtiM (Deleted) said (13 Nov 2010):

    excellent shot!

  • Bradley Nichol

    Bradley Nichol said (14 Nov 2010):

    Fabulous story to this image, well done.

  • Mag TY

    Mag TY gave props (17 Nov 2010):

    Enjoyed the story that went with the photo! Interesting perspective!

  • Basak Buyukcelen

    Basak Buyukcelen gave props (22 Nov 2010):

    thanks everyone.

  • Epin Hervin

    Epin Hervin gave props (4 Feb 2011):

    nice pov

  • Anthony Cronin

    Anthony Cronin (Deleted) gave props (18 Mar 2011):

    loving your work

  • Carol Arntsen Masiak

    Carol Arntsen Masiak gave props (15 Apr 2011):

    beautiful capture and wonderful narrative

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (16 Aug 2011):

    really nice!!!

  • Omer Ozen

    Omer Ozen said (2 Oct 2011):

    The realities of small lives, sometime so imposing, so painful ... Thank you for sharing it with us Basak.

  • Jim Bennett

    Jim Bennett gave props (4 Jan 2013):

    Great capture

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