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My Photo scholarship 2011 entry

Worldwide | Monday, 7 November 2011 | flickr photos

Although I take approximately 10,000 photos a month, I do not consider myself as a photographer. I take photos because I am a storyteller.

This past June, I quit my job and moved to Northeastern Turkey to live with women beekeepers. My mission was to start a honey tasting eco-tourism program. After six months of swarms, bee stings, and falling asleep to the hum of wings, this world of flowers and fast seasons has captured my imagination.

My photos tell a story of life in a village, of ancient history from a flower’s perspective, of the importance of environmental jobs, of the unsung presence of women as beekeepers. While this is a story of Kars, Turkey, it is a story that has yet to be told. Too often, Kars is overgeneralized as archaic or backwards due to its complicated border relations, and historical conflict around religion, politics, gender, and ethnicity. Orhan Pamuk wrote of Kars in his famous fiction novel Snow, “these sights spoke of a strange and powerful loneliness… a place that the whole world had forgotten.” Although the work is fiction, most of its readers know Kars only through these words. Kars is a region rarely equated with social progress, or celebrated for its environment.

I want my photographs to have the power to provide a different perspective, build a new narrative, and tap into the shared emotions that make us see and feel beyond words. Instead of Kars as a forgotten land, I want my photos to show that a wild nature is a thriving there, and with it a new generation of women leaders. I want people to feel this story and be inspired to visit, to share their experiences, to remember Kars.

In joining WorldNomads and Jason Edwards, I hope I can improve my skills so that my photographs have this impact.

Thank you for your consideration.

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