Turk is a project that was initiated while exploring the various settlements of the southern part of Dobrogea. Some of them are inhabited by Turkish communities and have been preserved so far from the modern world probably due to geographical position and isolation.
More than documenting the daily aspects of their social life, I will try to visually explore and gather fragments of a culture that partly adapted to our standards and people but that also keeps to its ethnical origins, comprising as such a diverse archaic world. And so it comes to Dobromir, Lespezi, Valeni, parts of Cetatea, Fantana Mare, Osmancea, villages that host Turkish ethnicity. My role is merely of a preserver. What little tradition still inhabits and is being transmitted within the community is worth documenting visually.
However, this is not a standard approach to photojournalism as such. Photojournalism will relate to different social issues that permeate both space and present time, in order to facilitate a simplistic narrative surrounding ethnic integration, poverty, local education, religion, mixed marriage (once again pertaining to social integration), also tradition but rather related to Romania’s specifics, of acclimation.
To me a community is an integer of cultural history and a very small-sized group of people amidst a greater continuous mass of surrounding different habits, different history, although shared, is ultimately quite difficult for it to retain its cultural backgrounds. From an assumed subjective personal fascination, the rituals and endeavours of Turkish people have held together for hundreds of years and it is by this archaic societal ceremony that a community is formed, aside from any geopolitical interest.
The main reason is the sense of identity that people seem to uphold. The cohesion, structure, differentiation, organizing, all instillpsychological assuring in the face of anonymity. And this is what a community does, it keeps.Now, photographing their rites in a direct manner is only recognizing their existence. It is onlynoted, rarely experienced. Trying to suggest through aesthetic instruments the personality, the identity of such people within their enclosure, the atmosphere, the sentiment of a tethered ancestral line that still brings forth the spiritual abundance up to this day, can be considered an experience that it is worth imparting.
Even if more or less, people from this timid enclave, who have been living in these parts of Dobrogea since the early 1800s, are gradually forgetting their origins or convening to the actuality of Romanian village life, their collective historical values still linger even without full awarenessand are emanated almost by chance, episodic. Which in any photographer’s decency is to capture and essentialize.
I want to mention that this project is partially shared with two fellow photographers: CorneliuSarion and Rafael Ianos, regarding Lespezi village and has been up to date an immersing experience having together three different visual outlooks, and the complement that is being offered. (by Dragos-Radu Dumitrescu)