Saturday, April 5, 2014

Picturing Turkey's urban growing pains

From empty rural schools to blighted inner-city neighborhoods, there have been many victims, along with beneficiaries, of Turkey's rapid urbanization and recent economic growth. Frustration with the pace and nature of the changes, especially in Istanbul, helped fuel last summer’s dramatic street protests. The ups and downs of the country's transformation also sparked the passions of many of the talented students featured in the American Turkish Society’s 2013 Young Photographers Award competition.

Photo credit: Osman Demir/
Young Photographers Award
“This year’s submissions were striking in their melancholy air, and the focus on abandoned spaces, overcrowded cities, and the everyday difficulties – particularly for children and young people – more conspicuous [than in years past],” competition jurors Karen Haas and Anne E. Havinga told me in an email.

The work of the competition winner and two recipients of honorable mentions, as well as that of other participants that I featured in a photo gallery for The Atlantic's CityLab (formerly The Atlantic Cities), puts an important -- if often forgotten -- human face on Turkey's ongoing urban transformation.

Read my article, "The Hidden Side of Turkey's Urban Transformation, Told in 10 Pictures," and see more of these powerful photos on CityLab.

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