"Suruç, Şanlıurfa, Turkey." Photograph by Furkan Temir.
In October 2014, Turkish photographer Furkan Temir, then nineteen, brought his camera to Suruç, a Turkish town near the border with northern Syria. Nearly 200,000 people were seeking refuge there from the besieged Syrian city of Kobanî, which had become a critical foothold for Kurdish militias and US-led forces as the Islamic State approached the Turkish frontier. In April 2015, three months after the Islamic State retreated from Kobanî and with citizens returning to rebuild their communities, Temir crossed over to take pictures of the wasted landscapes along the border.
Temir photographs with an immediacy that conveys the shock of displacement and the underlying resilience in these Syrian and Turkish towns. He finds beauty and foreboding in rising smoke, in sunlight falling on stones, tall grass, tents, broken foundations, and improvised public spaces. His eye rests empathically on people waiting, grieving, protesting, and celebrating Newroz—the Kurdish new year. In these images fire assumes a syncretic significance, as a symbol of destruction and rebirth, in the holiday of Newroz, and an instrument of vision and obfuscation. Louder than Bombs, the body of work Temir developed during these travels, considers physical and existential boundaries, and through them that renewal becomes possible in moments of violent uncertainty.
Furkan Temir is a self-taught photographer and artist born in a small town in eastern Turkey. After spending his childhood and adolescence in his town, he earned a scholarship for the Department of Cinema at State University and moved to Istanbul. By that time, he had developed an interest in photojournalism and traveled many times across Turkey and abroad for his projects. He combines different techniques of painting, video, photography, and installation to create works focused on minorities in the Middle East.
Temir’s photos have been published in the New York Times, TIME, CNN's Photo Blog, Stern, Paris Match, and The Guardian. He has also had solo and group exhibitions in Germany, Italy, France, Poland, and Turkey. Currently he is represented by VII Photo Agency as part of the Mentor Program. He lives in Istanbul.