Based in Chicago, Cengiz Yar is a hard working documentary photographer, freelance photojournalist and a founding member of the Frontline Freelancer Registry. His urge to tell stories is big, his urge to experiment and to grow as a storyteller probably even bigger.
“I believe it’s incredibly important to tell these stories”
“My photography focuses on human conflicts, both violent and peaceful”
With his ever-growing body of work he aims to encourage the public’s understanding and interest by turning the alien into something familiar.
For his work in Syria, Cengiz took a closer look at the meaning and use of mobile technology as a photographers creative tool and main form of communication. “The landscape of war does strange things to our pocket computers. These devices, on which we rely so heavily in our times of peace, become vital lifelines in the middle of war” Cengiz explains.
And the photographer from the windy city is right. In sync with modern times, smartphones took on a completely new and bold meaning during recent conflicts and uprisings. Cengiz: “Surrounded by mobile phones in the United States it’s easy to overlook them and their place in our lives. We use them for everything; we depend on them for safety, scheduling, staying connected to family and friends.”
As the context of our surroundings change, so does the functions of our most used devices. Cengiz: “It’s no longer about sharing pictures of your newborn with your Facebook friends or Instagraming what you had for lunch. It’s about taking pictures of children in writhing pain in an attempt to inspire some sort of international outrage as your country destroys itself.”
“It becomes more about the potential power those images wield than the content of the pictures themselves.”
For most people, the frontline (or any other place out of the comfort-zone for that matter) is a place they actively stay away from. Cengiz, at the other hand, looks for these environments. “I’m not sure I can fully explain my drive for putting myself in those types of situations, but I tell you that I believe it’s incredibly important to tell these stories regardless of where they take place. I guess all I can say, without any qualification, is that there are people at the front-lines, and people matter. Maybe it’s as simple as that.